Mawaru Penguindrum: Curry Cabbage Rolls!

In episode 11 and 12 of Mawaru Penguindrum, Himari prepares a delectable dish consisting of stuffed cabbage rolls. She symbolically associates the sharing of cabbage rolls with forgiveness, and makes Sho share some with Ringo due to the rough development in their relationship. She also leaves leftovers for Kanba due to his recent quarreling with Sho.

Just like my previous post regarding Apple Curry, here’s a recipe for delicious curry-flavored cabbage rolls that serves 4-6.

Ingredients 

Cabbage leaves – About x8. One head of cabbage will suffice.
Onion – x1 medium, diced
Prepared Curry Sauce – 1 cup, either buy it premade, or use a roux like in the last recipe
Ground Beef – 1 pound
Rice – 1 cup, cooked
Egg – x1

This recipe is not as flexible as the last, but you can replace certain ingredients as per the nature of cabbage rolls. You can also use any type of ground meat, which can include pork or lamb, but since this is a curry recipe, pork or beef will work best.

You can prepare the sauce in any way you wish, but for simplicity’s sake, I’m using a pre-made butter-chicken curry sauce, packaged in a jar.

Directions

1a. in a bowl, hand-mix one pound of ground beef with pre-cooked rice, chopped onion, a few tablespoons of curry sauce, and an egg.

1b. Steam the cabbage leaves until the leaves get soft enough to roll. The best way to do seal it in a pot or skillet with about half a cup of water, letting the water boil and trapping the steam inside to soften the leaves.

You can do steps 1a and 1b at the same time if you have good multitasking skills and micromanagement, but it’s important to pay more attention to the steaming cabbage so that they don’t get too soft that they tear easily when you try to roll them.

2. Remove the cabbage leaves and leave them out to cool. In each leaf, roll up a small amount of the stuffing mix. The best way to do this is to put the stuffing on one end of the cabbage leaf, but leave enough room to lift the cabbage and roll it over. I didn’t spread the stuffing too much lengthwise, either, so that I could fold each side over before rolling. This way, the stuffing is less likely to leak out during the simmering process.

3. In a separate pan, heat approximately 1 cup of the curry mix until it starts to bubble, then cook the cabbage rolls in the sauce, simmering on medium to low heat for about 40 minutes. Baste the rolls with the curry mix regularly.

4. Serve individual rolls on a plate with a side of rice, quinoa, lentils, or chick peas. Enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Cabbage rolls is a traditional dish that has origins in Central Europe, but has enjoyed widespread consumption in parts of North America and Asia as well. Normally, it is prepared with tomato sauce, but in the case of Mawaru Penguindrum, curry sauce fits surprisingly well. Due to the nature of curry, you can choose whatever mildness you want based on your tastes regarding spicy foods.

The most difficult part of this recipe is getting the cabbage to soften perfectly, so that rolling the stuffing does not break the cabbage leaves at all. There’s a fine line between not softening enough that it will break if bent too much, and softening it too much that it will tear easily when stretched. The cabbage will soften fully during the simmering process, so the first step is just to ensure that you can roll the stuffing properly.  Be sure to save some extra leaves for practice, or for just in case you make a mistake.

If you’ve tried making the apple curry in my previous post, then making the sauce should be a bit easier if you’ve managed to gain some experience from making it. However, since the real challenge in the preparation of this dish is in the rolling of cabbage.

Himari is a gentle and sweet character for putting meaning into this dish, and I hope that more food ideas will come from this wonderful series.

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9 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum: Curry Cabbage Rolls!”

    1. It sounds delicious, but I admit I wrote up this recipe at work this morning. Gonna have to make it at home tonight to confirm its taste 😀

  1. Oh wow, I love that you posted a recipe for this. I just made some curry and have cabbage in the fridge, so this will be a great way for me to get rid of leftovers. As with the apple curry, thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m not sure how the apple curry will interact with the cabbage, but I can imagine that it won’t be any different from regular curry and cabbage.

      1. I used my regular curry I always make for the cabbage rolls :p I’ll probably try the apple curry with the cabbage in the future, though!

        I did end up trying this, and MAN, you were right–the toughest thing is wrapping up the cabbage leaf. I did steam it before hand, but it was still difficult rolling up the leaves due to the stiffer stem section D: I had to pin them closed like Himari’s does…and eat them with a fork instead of my hands. Messy! Hopefully my second attempt will be more successful >.<

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