As I mentioned here, while in Vietnam I had the opportunity to take a cooking class from Ms. Trinh Diem Vy's exceptional cooking school. This cabbage soup was not only my favorite dish of the class, but also my favorite dish of the whole trip. There are several steps, but the rich, comforting flavors of the broth and the elegant shrimp envelopes make it well worth the effort. Many thanks Ms. Vy for this recipe! More of her recipes can be found in her beautiful cookbook, Taste Vietnam.
Cabbage Leaf Parcels with Shrimp Mousse in Broth
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp rock sugar
- 3 cups cabbage, chopped
- 2 cups of shrimp, peeled
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup white spring onion and shallot, chopped finely
- 1 egg
- Small pot salted water
- 6 cabbage leaves
- 12 spring onions, bottom white part removed
- 4 cups vegetable stock, hot
- 8 carrot flowers, sliced thinly (thinly sliced carrot disks are fine, too)
- Sesame oil
- 1/2 cup coriander leaves
- 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
Bring water to a boil. Add the salt, fish sauce, rock sugar, and chopped cabbage. Cook 25 minutes on low heat.
Using a blender, blend all ingredients until mousse-like consistency.
Cut cabbage leaves in half, discarding the thick vein middle. Bring the small pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the cabbage leaves for 2 minutes, then set aside. Next cook the spring onions for 30 seconds in the same hot water. Set aside.
Bring the vegetable stock to a boil.
While the stock is heating, make the dumplings. Dip two teaspoons in oil to keep the shrimp mousse from sticking to the spoons. Take a small amount of the prawn mixture and use the two spoons to make the dumplings, passing the mixture between the two to shape. Make a total of twelve. Then poach dumplings in the vegetables stock for 1 minute and remove. Any left over mixture can be made into small balls and added to the stock at the last moment.
Cut blanched cabbage leaves into small squares, about 4 x 6 inches (think a photograph), reserving the left over cabbage pieces. Take the cabbage leaf square and place it on a flat surface. Place the dumpling about 1 inch from the edge. Then fold the sides of the cabbage leaf over the dumpling. Next, bring the bottom over the dumpling, and then roll up the dumpling until all the cabbage leaf is used, resembling an envelope. Tie the envelope with the blanched spring onion, cutting any long ends.
Place the envelopes in the vegetable stock, along with the carrot slices, left over torn cabbage leaves, and any left over mousse balls. Simmer 8-10 minutes.
Serve in bowls topped with coriander leaves, a pinch of black pepper, and a few drops of sesame oil. Season to taste. Enjoy.