My Oma makes these cabbage rolls all the time. They’re essentially egg rolls, but the filling is just sautéed cabbage… basically an Eastern Euro style egg roll? My dad remembered my Oma making sweet cabbage strudel (like this!?) when he was a kid, so at some point along the way, we started making Oma’s cabbage rolls, and dusting them with a snowy layer of powdered sugar, to resemble the strudel. It sounds weird but trust me you guys, it works!
We start with a head of cabbage, and sauté in a little butter until it’s less than half it’s original size, and add nothing but salt and pepper. Be patient with the cabbage... once you cook it down, low and slow, it takes on a silky sweetness. When I first sliced my whole cabbage it was a heaping mound covering this entire cutting board, and it reduced down to this little tiny bowl full. Just enough for eight rolls!
Then we roll it up in store-bought egg roll wrappers, with a little bit of water to seal the edges.
Oma deep fries these, and when I was a kid, we usually did as well (which was why they were a special birthday-only treat). We’ve tried baking them before, but it’s just not the same. Rather than do a full deep fry, I pan-fried the rolls in a thin layer of oil, turning to fry each side. Super easy, and way less oil going to waste. And maybe better for you? I don’t know. We’ll say yes, super healthy!
Once they’re done, we go crazy with the powdered sugar! I like to pair them with jams of the orange-colored variety—this is apricot, but an orange marmalade would work really well too!
Not into the sweet treatment? Well, I think you’re missing out. But if you try it and just don’t love it, the rolls are good on their own, or dipped in any number of things (mustard, or for a more Asian-style egg roll, soy sauce, sesame oil, etc).
Fried Cabbage "Strudel" Rolls with Powdered Sugar and Jam
Makes 8-12 rolls, depending on how big your cabbage is
1 medium-sized head of cabbage
2 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper
store-bought egg roll wrappers
1-2 tablespoons oil, for frying (something with a higher smoke point like grapeseed or canola)
Cut out the core/stem of the cabbage, and thinly slice the rest.
Heat butter over medium heat in a large skillet, and add cabbage. It maybe barely fit, but trust me, it cooks down a ton. once the cabbage starts to brown, after a few minutes, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally (making sure it doesn’t stick), for about 30 minutes (or longer, if needed). If it seems too dry at any point, add a splash of water, more butter, or cover with a lid to steam a bit. In the last few minutes of cooking, add salt and pepper to taste (My medium sized cabbage required about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, but start with less, and taste as you go… the salt really brings out the flavor), and turn heat back up to medium for a minute to get a few crispy bits on the bottom. Stir, remove from heat, and cool slightly before filling wrappers.
To roll, lay wrapper on surface with one corner facing you. Add a mound of cabbage, and fold the corner up to the other corner, then slide back to tighten around the cabbage. Fold the sides in. Brush a little bit of water on the top corner, and roll, sealing with the slightly wet end.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet/ frying pan, over medium heat. Once it’s good and hot, cook a few rolls at at time, flipping once each side is done (using tongs is easiest). Keep an eye on them, it doesn’t take long for each side to get brown and crispy! Drain on paper towels.
Serve warm or room temp with powdered sugar and jam. Can be refrigerated and then reheated in the oven to retain the crispy shell. I even like to eat them cold... and find the flavor gets even better the next day!