This dish came from a Japanese drama.
I feel like I just discredited myself and the recipe by disclosing that information, but let me explain: Japan as a country and Japanese TV (drama, variety shows, news) as an industry are OBSESSED with food. I remember being in Japan, not having to go to school one day, and falling into the rabbit hole of TV watching. And by TV watching I really mean food watching. A typical morning show would include a discussion of various dishes and their nutrition values, and sometimes even an on-site experiment! Then there was this mid-day show on one channel about food and travel, where a cheery man went to different provinces of Japan to introduce different specialty foods. On another channel there was a celebrity talk show where one segment has the celebrities try food made by a famous chef. On yet another channel was another celebrity talk show, except this one is done not by normal MCs but other famous celebrities, who have a 20 minute long cooking competition segment in their show. Different food shows were on a different point in time on at least 2 channels at a time, so that at any point in time, if you turned on the TV, you would see food.
So, suffice it to say, there are a lot of Japanese dramas about food, where food is the emotional center/motivation of the characters. Sometimes it’s annoying. I think in Lunch no jou (Lunch Queen), one character fell in love with the main girl because she was THIS EXCITED about his omurice. I don’t know, maybe he needs to meet more people. But I guess if you are going into a food drama, you have to expect that people worship food, and that 90% of the screen time will be for food. Obviously, since a food drama is not a cooking show, there is not a lot of “here is how it is done” but more glittery slow-mo glamour shots of the outcome. Still, sometimes the result looks so inspiring that I have to try, even if all I know about the dish is how it looks, and what the “key” ingredient is.
That’s what happened with this dish. I was watching the drama “Hungry”, and thought the chef (the main guy)’s move of sprinkling and torching some shaved cheese on top of choux farci was a brilliant idea, except I had no idea what was in the choux farci itself. I just had to try it the next time we got hold of cabbage, and made do/winged it with whatever we had at the moment. This was a while ago, so forgive me for not having exact measurements, but hey, that’s the whole point of WINGING it, right?
1 head of cabbage
A small box of raw chicken liver, chopped into very small bits
Onion, garlic (a lot)
Cumin, thyme, ground pepper, baharat (optional), salt
Parmesan cheese, grated
Step 1. Blanch the cabbage until a bit soft, but not completely cooked through. It’s easier to roll this way.
Step 2. Season the ground lamb with chopped garlic and the above-mentioned spices. Mix well.
Step 3. Roll the ground lamb in each cabbage leaf. Don’t make them fat! Each cabbage roll deserves to be skinny (bitches)!
Step 4. Fry/steam the cabbage rolls. I’ve tried both. If you fry, start with a strong fire first and then lower the heat.
Step 5. Saute the liver and the onion together, season with salt (or soy sauce, if you feel like it; I always feel like soy sauce). Use butter or oil as you wish. If you want a smooth sauce you can puree the liver mixture, adding some white wine in the pan before pureeing.
Step 6. Sprinkle the grated cheese on each cabbage roll and torch until the cheese melts over the roll and burns a little. Pour sauce over and serve!