Canh Bap Cai Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Cabbage Rolls Soup)

Vietnamese cabbage rolls soup

Connie Veneracion

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
316 Calories
5g Fat
50g Carbs
22g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 316
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 38mg 13%
Sodium 1332mg 58%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 11g 39%
Protein 22g
Calcium 231mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Depending on where you are in the world, cabbage rolls may be filled with meat, rice, chopped vegetables, mushrooms, and spices. The cabbage rolls may be steamed, baked or simmered and served with a sauce. The sauce can be sour cream, yogurt, tomato-based or made with lingonberry jam.

In Vietnam, cabbage rolls are served in broth. In most recipes, the meat-filled cabbage leaves are simmered in water until the rich flavors of the meat and the subtle sweetness of the cabbage permeate the cooking liquid. We prefer to use homemade broth instead of water.


  • 1 head white cabbage
  • 6 shallots (or 2 large red onions)
  • 1 to 2 carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 400 grams ground pork (with at least 20 percent fat)
  • 100 grams shrimp, shelled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 2​ teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 12 to 16 onion leaves
  • 8 to 10 cups homemade broth

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Prepare the cabbage by first removing the hard core. The core of the cabbage is shaped like a cone. If the cabbage is standing upright, the "mouth" of the "cone" is at the bottom. The opposite end of the cone ends about an inch or two below the top side of the cabbage. First, cut off the cone-shaped core. Position the cabbage with the base on top. Using a sharp, pointed knife held at a slight angle, cut into the core of the cabbage stopping about an inch or two from the opposite end. Rotating the cabbage little by little, repeat until you have cut around the base of the cire. If you did the procedure correctly, you should be able to pull out the entire core without much resistance.

  3. Next, boil the cabbage until softened. Drop the cabbage into a pot with the hole pointing upward. Pour boiling water into the pot (I pour the boiling water directly into the hole) until the cabbage is completely submerged.

  4. Place a heavy heatproof plate to keep the cabbage underwater.

  5. Boil until softened. Depending on the size of the cabbage, this can take anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes.

  6. Scoop out the cabbage, plunge in iced water and drain.

  7. Separate the cabbage leaves taking care not to tear them. You need 12 to 16 whole cabbage leaves (you won't be able to use the small ones; keep them for another use). Using a small, sharp knife, cut off the thick white portion in the middle of each leaf. Start at the middle of each leaf and cut all the way down using as though paring a potato. The cabbage leaves are now ready to be used as wrappers.

  8. Blanch the onion leaves in boiling water for a few seconds to wilt. Rinse well.

  9. Peel and finely chop the shallots (or onions) and carrots.

  10. Crush, peel, and finely mince the garlic.

  11. Place the ground pork and minced shrimp in a bowl and add the chopped shallots, carrots, garlic, and cilantro. Season with fish sauce and ground pepper.

  12. Lay a cabbage roll flat, the core end nearest you. Place 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls of filling at the center of the cabbage leaf.

  13. Take the edge nearest you, fold over the filling.

  14. Take the side edges and fold in.

  15. Roll the whole thing outward to close and seal.

  16. Take an onion leaf and use it to tie the cabbage roll. Repeat until all the cabbage leaves are stuffed and tied.

  17. In a large cooking pot, bring the broth to a boil. Drop the cabbage rolls one by one. Wait until the broth is boiling once more then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

  18. Serve hot and enjoy!