To create this recipe I was inspired by the Lebanese-style cabbage rolls we all love to eat in Brazil which is made with rice and beef mince and is called “charutinho” or little cigars.
Actually I came up with the idea of making it vegan one day that I had a whole cabbage in the fridge and didn’t know what to do with it. Since I did not have mince that day and happened to have all the other ingredients I thought it would be a good option just to stuff the cabbage with rice, nuts, garlic and herbs.
I must confess I now prefer the meatless version. The dish is so light and healthy, almost addictive; in fact it became of a favourite week-night dinner of our household. This recipe is super easy just one little tip try to buy the best passata you possibly can and a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle will certainly take the dish to the heavenly level.
Everyday I get more passionate about food photography; just as in cooking the possibilities to use your imagination are countless. It is spring here in Hobart and I decided to take do do an outdoor photo-shoot to match the dish with the season’s mood. It was a partially clouded and lazy afternoon. I enjoyed so much taking these photos and experimenting with different types of light. The sun was coming and going so it was great opportunity to practice food photography. I started the shoot using the diffuser but, since the light was not too harsh, half way through I decided to get the 100% of the sun light through just to see what would happen.
It was not easy to style the food because cabbage rolls can look a bit weird on the plate. For this reason I played with the basil leaves to make the image more colourful and appetising.
Here are some photo steps on how to prepare the rolls.
Firstly remove the hard stem of the leaf (just cut a triangle shape like the picture).
Place 1 tbs of the rice mixture next to the slot. Fold both sides and then roll firmly. Insert a toothpick to hold.
The rolls must be placed very tightly onto the bottom of the pan:
To accompany this melt-in-the-mouth meal here is another graceful Brazilian song with a flamenco flair by my uncle David Tavares called “San Francisco”. In Spanish, Paco is the short for Francisco and he written this song as a tribute to one of his idols and the greatest Flamenco guitarist of all time, the late Paco de Lucia.
80g pine nuts
1 large cabbage head
3/4 cup long grain rice
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbs sweet paprika
½ bunch basil leaves, roughly chopped
4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground chilli (optional)
500ml tomato passata
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven 150°C. Roast the pine nuts for 5-8 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.
2. Carefully cut the bottom of the cabbage and remove the leaves from the bottom up. Wash them well and boil or steam for about 5 minutes taking care not to overcook them. Remove from heat (drain if boiling) and set aside to cool.
3. While leaves are cooling, in a medium bowl mix rice, garlic, paprika, basil and the nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. With a small knife cut the hard stem out of a cabbage leaf taking care not to damage the leaf (the more intact it is, the easier to roll). Repeat with other leaves.
5. Place one leaf onto a board, spoon about 1 tbs of the rice mixture right next to the bottom of the leaf. Fold both sides and then roll very tightly then insert a toothpick to hold. Repeat with remaining leaves until all rice is used. (Remaining cabbage leaves can be used in soups, stews, salads and fried rice).
6. In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, heat the olive oil with the bay leaves. Carefully add the rolls leaving them very close together and in a single layer. Increase the heat to medium-high, pour tomato passata, add chilli powder (if using), water, salt and pepper and close the pan. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes or until rice is soft and the sauce thickens. Drizzle with extra olive oil to serve.
Makes: 15 rolls
Receita em Português
Charutinho de Repolho (Receita Vegana)
1 cabeça de repolho
3/4 xícara de arroz branco
1 dente de alho grande amassado
1 colher de sopa de páprika
½ maço de folhas de manjericão, picadas
4 colheres de sopa de azeite de oliva extra- virgem , além de extras para servir
2 folhas de louro
1 colher de chá de pimenta calabresa (opcional)
500ml passata de tomate
250 ml de água
Sal e pimenta do reino
1. Pré-aqueça o forno a 150°C. Asse os pinoles por 5-8 minutos ou até dourar. Retire do forno.
2. Corte cuidadosamente a parte inferior do repolho e retire as folhas de baixo para cima. Lave bem e ferva na água ou no vapor para cerca de 5 minutos, tendo o cuidado para não cozinhar demais. Retire as folhas (drene se tiver fervido na água) e deixe esfriar.
3. Enquanto folhas estão esfriando, em uma tigela misture o arroz, alho, páprica, manjericão e os pinoles. Tempere com sal e pimenta a gosto.
4. Usando uma faca pequena cortar o caule duro da folha de repolho tomando cuidado para não danificar a folha (quanto mais intactas as folhas estiverem, mais fácil fica de enrolar). Repita com outras folhas.
5. Coloque uma folha em uma tábua, coloque 1 colher de sopa da mistura de arroz próxima à parte inferior da folha. Dobre ambos os lados e, em seguida, enrole firmemente. Insira um palito para segurar. Repita com as folhas restantes até que todo o arroz seja usado. (As folhas que sobrarem podem ser usadas em sopas, guisados, saladas e arroz com legumes).
6. Em uma panela média sob fogo baixo, aqueça o azeite com as folhas de louro. Adicione cuidadosamente os charutos deixando-os bem próximos um do outro e em uma camada. Aumente o fogo para médio-alto, despeje a passata de tomate, adicione pimenta calabresa (se estiver usando), água, sal e pimenta e feche a panela. Assim que começar a ferver, reduza o fogo e cozinhe por 45 minutos ou até que o arroz fique macio e o molho engrosse. Regue com azeite de oliva para servir.
Rende: 15 charutinhos