Daring Cooks #18: Rolled & Stuffed (Canh Bap Cai Cuon Thit)

by Jenn on October 13, 2010

in Budget,Dairy Free,Daring Kitchen,Diabetic Friendly,Gluten Free,Meats,Soups


Wow can you believe Daring Cooks is on to their 18th challenge already?? It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were all attempting ricotta gnocchi for the first time… Well here we are, one and a half years in.  So far I’ve had a lot of fun with this group.  Some challenges have been better than others, but you’ll have that with just about any blogging group.  My favorite challenges so far up to this point have been the paella and sushi challenges.

pag0777paellasm PAG1941sushi2-334x499

This one though, might have to win the spot of #3 on my list!  Even though I went in a totally different direction from the main challenge (because when do I not?), both my husband and I loved this recipe.  So are you curious what the challenge was?? Sure you are!

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

If you can’t tell from the photo above, I didn’t stuff grape leaves.  In fact, neither grape leaves nor Middle Eastern cuisine were anywhere related to what I chose to do.  But I did stuff and roll leaves.  Instead I made Vietnamese cabbage roll soup, also known as Canh Bap Cai Cuon Thit.

Honestly, before this challenge I had never eaten stuffed grape leaves before.  I was able to find some in a store and tried them, and my husband and I instantly decided that we were not fans; they were just way too bitter for our taste, and I wasn’t sure how me making them from scratch would be able to solve that bitterness problem.  Maybe I will try them again sometime, but they just were not meant to be for this challenge.

Luckily, there was some nice fine print about being able to stuff cabbage leaves instead.  I had made a stuffed cabbage dish before, galumpkis – which I really enjoyed.  Actually, this Vietnamese soup used very much the same steps for assembling the rolls (turns out there are only so many ways to peel, stuff and roll cabbage leaves), so I will be borrowing a few pics from that old post :)

For the recipe, I adapted from two different ones I saw online – one was a soup, one was not.  I liked the idea of turning this into a soup after a recent cold spell that brought temps down to 4 ºC in the mornings, but the non-soup recipe was a lot simpler ingredient-wise.  So, I blended.  I also used beef instead of pork (it was on sale).  You know me, I make substitutions with everything!


This soup was light and mild, but quite satisfying.  Not very filling, so it would be really appropriate as an appetizer.  A little sriracha added some zing, though I’m sure that’s not traditional at all…but then I use sriracha like most people use ketchup, I can put it on just about anything.  I loved how cute the rolls looked, and bought some pretty bowls in our favorite new Asian foods store just for them!  Tying the green onions around them definitely added a nice artistic garnish.  And the soup broth – so simple in flavors, but just enough to be comforting on a chilly day.  I love days when you can see your breath and drink hot tea…I always was a cold-weather girl and the coming of Fall is invigorating!

So if you’re looking for a warm comforting soup on a brisk windy day when the leaves are falling before they had a chance to turn, I recommend this.  It may not be the dolmades I was supposed to make for this challenge, but I don’t think I want to switch, I liked this soup too much.

Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays