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Explore the Rich History of Thai Cabbage Roll Cuisine

Explore the Rich History of Thai Cabbage Roll Cuisine

Cabbage rolls are a beloved comfort food that has been enjoyed all over the world for centuries. Made with cabbage and a filling, they are a versatile dish that can be prepared in countless ways. In Thailand, cabbage rolls have a rich history that is a combination of various cultures. Explore the history of Thai cabbage roll cuisine in this article.

What are Thai cabbage rolls?

Thai cabbage rolls have a unique taste that differentiates them from traditional cabbage rolls served in other parts of the world. They are typically made using ground pork, vegetables, and served with a spicy dipping sauce. The rolls are usually boiled or steamed until cooked.

History of Thai cabbage rolls

Thai cuisine has a rich history that has been influenced by various cultures, including Chinese, Indian, and European cuisine. Cabbage rolls in Thailand are known as ‘sarun jeen’ and have been popular for centuries. The dish was originally introduced in Thailand during the reign of King Rama V, who was known for his love of French cuisine.

The dish was later ‘Thai-ized’ and modified with the addition of spicy dips, aromatic herbs, and vegetables. Today, cabbage rolls are a classic Thai dish that is enjoyed all over the country.

Ingredients used in Thai cabbage rolls

The filling of Thai cabbage rolls is made using ground pork or beef, onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, carrots, and bean thread noodles. The filling is then wrapped in a softened cabbage leaf and cooked. The rolls are then served with a spicy dipping sauce made using garlic, chilies, sugar, vinegar, and fish sauce.

Health benefits of Thai cabbage rolls

Cabbage is a nutrient-dense vegetable that is low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. The ground pork in Thai cabbage rolls is a good source of protein and minerals like iron and zinc.

How to make Thai cabbage rolls

To make Thai cabbage rolls, you will need:

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup shredded bean thread noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Spicy dipping sauce


  1. Boil a large pot of water, add a head of cabbage, and cook till slightly softened.
  2. Drain out the water and keep the cabbage leaves aside.
  3. Heat a skillet and cook the ground pork along with onions, garlic, and ginger.
  4. Add soy sauce, sugar, black pepper, and salt to taste.
  5. Add chopped mushrooms, carrots, shredded bean thread noodles, and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Take a cabbage leaf and place a spoonful of the pork mixture in the center.
  7. Roll the cabbage leaf, tucking in the sides, and place it in a steamer basket.
  8. Repeat the process until you have used all the filling.
  9. Steam the rolls for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Serve with spicy dipping sauce.


1. Can I use chicken instead of pork for the filing?

Yes, you can use ground chicken or beef as a substitute for the pork filling.

2. Is this dish vegetarian-friendly?

No, it’s not vegetarian-friendly as it contains ground meat. However, you can replace the meat with tofu or a mix of vegetables.

3. Can I freeze cabbage rolls?

Yes, you can freeze the cabbage rolls for up to 3 months. Just make sure to wrap them in an airtight container.

4. How long does it take to make Thai cabbage rolls?

It takes about 30-35 minutes to prepare and cook Thai cabbage rolls.

5. Is the spicy dipping sauce necessary?

The spicy dipping sauce is an essential part of Thai cabbage rolls, but you can skip it if you don’t like spicy food.

6. Can I use other vegetables as a filling?

Yes, you can experiment with other vegetables like peppers, zucchini, and broccoli to make the filling.

7. Can I use pre-made cabbage leaves instead of boiling the cabbage head?

Yes, you can use pre-made cabbage leaves, but boiling the cabbage head ensures that the leaves are soft enough to roll.


Thai cabbage rolls have a long and rich history that is a blend of various cultures. It’s a versatile and classic dish that is enjoyed all over the world. Try making this delicious dish at home and experience the irresistible taste of Thai cuisine.



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