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Chinese Cabbage Chicken Rolls in Curry Coconut Broth

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When my sons come home to cook for me, life has come full circle. I’ve said that again and again because I love to say it. Nothing is more fulfilling to a mom than seeing one’s children do what you taught them, and doing it better than you did. I’m talking about my son, Constante who cooked this delightful Chinese Cabbage Chicken Rolls in Curry Coconut Broth.

My sons were home briefly for Christmas but had enough time to help me cook. My younger one did a quick inventory of what I had in the kitchen ~ ground chicken, a bundle of baby bok choy cabbage, leftover tomato sauce and coconut cream.


Together we worked in the kitchen. I suggested the addition of some ingredients to the ground chicken, which gave it more Asian flavors. After forming the ground chicken meatballs, we refrigerated it a while so it could be easier to handle. Later, the meatballs were wrapped with bok choy leaves and tied with butcher’s twine. The broth simmered slowly so that the coconut-curry flavors could blend well. And one at a time, my son slipped in the cabbage-covered ground chicken meatballs into the curry broth. It didn’t take long to cook and the sweet coconut aroma flavored with intense yellow curry was intoxicating. When it was done, we couldn’t wait to pour it all over a bed of fragrant white jasmine rice. What a splendid meal to herald in the holidays.

The round meatballs in this dish was a good way to celebrate the New Year. Filipinos like to ring in the New Year with a big celebration of food to symbolize prosperity. And for good luck, I have been told by superstitious aunts that we must always have “round shaped food” during the New Year.  The irony of these superstitious customs has not escaped me especially since the Philippines is a staunch Catholic country with religious beliefs that center deep in our faith first and foremost before anything else.

Ultimately, no matter what customs or beliefs behind Filipino holidays, this dish was divine and the family time spent enjoying it was priceless.

To all of you my loyal and supportive blog friends and readers, thank you for giving me your time all these months. May the New Year bring you continued prosperity, the abundance of good food and much happiness! See you in 2013 !



Chinese Cabbage Chicken Rolls in Curry Broth

These Chinese Cabbage Chicken Rolls in Curry Broth were our family’s take on the classic cabbage rolls recipe. My son put together ground chicken, onions, seasonings and Asian sauces and wrapped them in little bundles of bok choy or Chinese cabbage. They cooked in a heavenly heavy broth of coconut, tomato sauce and curry. The aromas of sweet coconut and earthy yellow curry were marvelous and a good blend with the crisp bok choy leaves encasing the chicken mixture. This is a great family meal that combines both vegetables and meat for a get together or any night. I added a few ingredients to the recipe “Stuffed Cabbage” from the cookbook “Cooking with Sandy Daza”. This recipe we made serves 4 to 6.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Chicken Cabbage Rolls in Curry
Servings: 4 people
Author: Asian in America


  • Large Stockpot


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 whole onion chopped fine, separate 1/2 for ground chicken, half for saute o
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder divided, 1 teaspoon for meatballs, rest for coconut broth yellow curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 whole egg
  • 18 to 20 whole leaves baby bok choy or Chinese cabbage washed, torn off from trunk of stem
  • for tying cabbage rolls : butcher's twine
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon patis (fish sauce)
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 stalk scallion greens chopped, for garnish
  • for serving : steamed rice


  • Prepare the meat stuffing by combining in a bowl these ingredients: ground chicken, chopped onions, yellow curry powder, Chef’s salt powder, egg, Panko bread crumbs, hoisin sauce. Mix well and form into 2-inch sized meatballs. Place on a tray and refrigerate the meatballs for 30 minutes to an hour to firm up.
  • Meanwhile, on a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough, add the onions, garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes till onions are transparent.
  • Pour the tomato sauce and broth into the skillet and lower heat to a low flame. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes till tomato sauce tastes slightly sweeter and less tart.
  • Take out the ground chicken meatballs from the refrigerator. Wash and separate the bok choy leaves from the stems. Place a chicken meatball into each bok choy leaf, on the hollow part of the stem. Cover with another bok choy leaf, wrap to encase the meat ball well. Tie the whole meat-filled bok choy leaf with butcher’s twine. When done tying, set aside for a few minutes till ready to add to skillet of broth.
  • To the skillet filled with simmering tomato sauce, add the fish sauce, coconut cream and curry. Stir and blend well. Add the chef’s salt and blend broth well. Try to maintain a low heat so that the coconut cream does not curdle. Stir slowly now and then so coconut broth does not stick to the bottom. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Slip in the bok choy rolls into the skillet with the simmering broth. Cover and cook for 25 minutes more till meat is fully cooked. We had extra chicken meatballs uncovered and added them to the simmering stew as well, to cook at the same time.
  • Garnish with chopped scallions. Serve hot with boiled white rice.
  • Cook’s Comments: If preferred, use ground beef or ground pork for this recipe. It is just as delicious and easy. And if regular cabbage is more convenient, feel free to use as a substitute ingredient.
  • Recipe Notes: I used baby bok choy for this recipe. If you prefer, you can use the regular bok choy or Chinese cabbage which has larger leaves.
  • Photography credit : Thanks to Constante G. Quirino

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


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    1. Hi, Nami! You’re absolutely correct ~ this is the perfect supper for a cold night. Hope you feel better soon. Thanks for stopping by inspite of your busy schedule 🙂

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