These Thai Beef Cabbage Wraps can be on the table in less than 30 minutes! They can be made as spicy as you like and served in cabbage leaves with cilantro rice make a delicious lunch or dinner!
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When someone says they don’t have time to make dinner, they’ve obviously never made these Thai Beef Cabbage Wraps. I’ve been making some version of these for years. It’s basically laarb. Laarb is a northern Thai dish that is composed of ground meat, chiles, herbs, and spices. You can vary the meat – pretty much anything that you can find ground works. I’ve used turkey, chicken, pork and beef. You can vary the spices and the garnishes and even the wraps. I usually see it served with lettuce wraps, as the Thai Crumbled Beef in Lettuce Wraps from Nigella Lawson that I used as inspiration. However, one summer our CSA gave us these adorable small heads of cabbage, and the already cupped leaves were perfect. I loved the added flavor and crunch that the cabbage gave it and I haven’t used lettuce since!
Most of the ingredients for the meat portion of the meal, I almost always have in my pantry or fridge. I always have hot chiles in my freezer, all summer long I bag up those that I don’t use. They are so easy to use right from the freezer. You barely even need to thaw them, they slice easier than when their fresh and don’t seem to lose any of their heat. I always have fish sauce in my pantry. I always have cilantro in my crisper drawer (usually 3 or 4 bunches, for I buy it every single time I go to the store – when I get to many, I whip up some cilantro pesto and store that in the freezer!) Green onions and limes are also staples in my fridge.
Some recipes include fresh mint, lemongrass and ground toasted rice. The ground toasted rice sounds really intriguing and many purists say it’s a must, so I definitely want to try it. But even without all the extras, these Thai Beef Cabbage Wraps are crazy easy and crazy delicious! I served them with some coconut cilantro rice (in my rice cooker, I used coconut milk instead of water, and stirred in some minced cilantro when it was done.)
If you want to make it even healthier, I’ve used ground chicken and ground turkey. Both worked perfectly and made a nice backdrop for the Thai flavors. So, feel free to substitute if you are not a red meat eater.
Thai Beef Cabbage Wraps
This spicy Thai Beef Cabbage Wraps can be on the table in under 30 minutes! It's sure to become a family favorite!
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 red bird's eye chillies (finely chopped)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 scant tablespoon thai fish sauce (nam pla)
- 4 spring onions (dark green bits removed, finely chopped)
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 small head of cabbage
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chillies and cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Add the ground beef and saute, breaking up any clumps for about 3-4 minutes or until no pink remains.
Add the fish sauce and stir about another minute.
Remove from the heat and add the onions, zest and juice of the lime and about 1/2 of the cilantro.
Wash the cabbage, and select smallish, cupping leaves. Spoon the meat mixture into the cabbage cups and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro.