Cabbage rolls with “gomoku” tofu 五目豆腐の春キャベツ包み

japanese cake

This is another vegan recipe from the Buddhist monk who appears regularly on a Japanese newspaper site.  Since I do not subscribe to this newspaper, I cannot get all parts of the recipe but I could watch a short video accompanying the recipe. It gave enough information for me to make, at least, a similar dish. This is a variation of Japanese cabbage rolls or rolled cabbage ロールキャベツ. This is, however, totally vegan. This is a Japanese-Western fusion and uses a interestingly different type of tomato sauce.

To carry on the Japanese-Western fusion 和洋折衷 theme, I garnished with fresh basil leaf and chiffonade.

Inside the roll is tofu and a combination of vegetables. Using a combination of many food items is sometimes called “Gomoku” 五目. “Gomoku” literally means “five items” but, in Japanese culinary parlance, it just means many items. I took the liberty of coming up with my own vegetable combination for this dish.

Ingredients (4 rolls):

1. Spring cabbage leaves, four, separated and boiled for 10 minutes until pliable. Shave off the thickest part of the veins and set aside.

2. Vegetables for stuffing: I chose white and brown “shimeji” しめじ mushrooms (white and brown beech mushrooms), separated and the bottom cut off, thin rectangles of carrots, thin squares of daikon (I happened to have simply simmered daikon in kelp broth) and julienne of hydrated and cooked kelp (again this was a byproduct of making simmered daikon). The amount was arbitrary (#1 picture below).

3. Firm (momen-goshi 木綿漉し) tofu 1/4, parboiled

4. Soy sauce (2 tbs), Kelp broth (1/4 cup), sake (2 tbs), vegetable oil and dark sesame oil for sautéing.

5. Tomato juice (I used V8 juice for more interesting flavors), 5.5oz

6. Campari tomato, skinned, and cut into quoters, 5. 7. Potato starch, 1 tsp


1. In a small sauce pan, I added a small amount of vegetable oil and a splash of sesame oil and sautéed the vegetables. I added a small amount of kelp broth, soy sauce and mirin and braised (#2) until the liquid was almost evaporated.

2. Meanwhile, I parboiled the firm tofu for 2-3 minutes. When both the vegetables and the tofu cooled down enough to handle, I added the tofu to the vegetables crushing it into chunks by hand (#3). 3. I divided the filling into 4 portions and placed each portion in one of the four base cabbage leaves (#4) and rolled (#5).

4. In a pan in which the cabbage rolls could snugly fit, I added 5-6 oz of kelp broth and V8 juice (1 can or 5.5oz) and seasoned with soy sauce and sake (regular V8 or tomato juice contain a good amount of salt, so I adjusted the soy sauce by tasting.) (#6).

5. I put the cabbage rolls into the sauce, put on the lid and cooked on simmer for 15-20 minutes (#7).

6. I took out the rolls and kept them warm. Meanwhile, I added the cut-up tomato to the sauce and cooked on medium flame for  5-10 minutes reducing the sauce slightly (#8).

7. I added a potato starch slurry (with sake or water) and thickened the sauce. 8. I tasted  it and added a pinch of sugar (optional).

Since this is vegan, it does not have an impact of meat containing cabbage rolls but the tomato sauce was very gentle and not too acidic (may be the benefit of using fresh and skinned Campari tomatoes). This is a very good and healthy way to enjoy spring cabbage.

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