The Global Pantry Cookbook

The Global Pantry Cookbook
Incorporating International Ingredients into Everyday Meals

By Bobbie Kitto
Recipe Included: Umami-Rich Napa Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Rice and Pork

When I first received this book to review, I wasn’t sure how to review it. Was it a cookbook or a reference book to look up strange looking products I found at the supermarket in the international isle? Turns out it is a bit of both.

The authors, Ann Taylor Pittman and Scott Mowbray cleverly designed this book so that it can used it both ways. Their idea was to show all cooks how to add new depth of flavor to new or old recipes with the least amount of extra work.  By adding a new ingredient (new to you but most likely it’s been around for years or even centuries) a whole new flavor experience can explode on the palate..

Chefs Scott Mowbray and Ann Pittman

In the first part of the book, the authors have taken the time to explain some of those “interesting and intimating” bottles of ingredients.  They start out with items like anchovies, Benton’s Bacon, and end with Yuzu.

Each item has a picture of the most popular brand. The authors describe the ingredient. Readers are given the type of store they will most likely find it in. Listed next are the recipes in the book where it is used and other uses for the ingredient. The authors have also given helpful hints on how to store the item. The chefs even told us when it would be a waste of time to use the most expensive brand to accomplish the best results. Throughout the book there are tips to avoid problems and substitutions for certain ingredients.

To demonstrate how a simple dish can be transformed by using just one non-traditional ingredient.  Chef Pittman cooks four dishes in this video link

Chuck Roast Magic

In the video she cooks Chuck Roast with root vegetable and creates a gravy using Oyster Sauce.




Creamy Mushroom Heaven

Super-Mushroomy Tiny Pasta is next. This recipe is creamy like Risotto but without a lot of effort due to using dried Porcini Mushrooms and Marsala.




The last recipe is Broiled Leeks using Banyuls Vinegar and Pine nuts.




This is one of the most useful books I have found when dealing with ingredients out of my normal comfort range.  I have even thought of buying a copy in the Kindle version so I could have it on my phone or tablet to help me when I shop.  Many times I have been browsing in an ethnic section of the store and thought “Wondering how is that used?” Most likely, I could find the ingredient in this book.

Next up Chef cooks Umami-Rich Napa Cabbage rolls using Chili Crisp, Fish Sauce, Korean Toasted Sesame Oil and Oyster Sauce.

Enjoy this unique recipe from the cookbook  showcasing how using international ingredients can really enhance a recipe.

Umami-Rich Napa Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Rice and Pork

Active time: 25 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Serves 4

Global Pantry Ingredients: 

Chili Crisp

Fish Sauce

Korean Toasted Sesame Oil

Oyster Sauce

This delicious Asian-tilting riff on stuffed cabbage rolls uses fragrant jasmine rice, napa cabbage, and a brothy brown sauce enriched by oyster sauce and toasted sesame oil instead of a tomato-based one. A splash of fish sauce in the porky filling boosts the meaty-savory effect. The result is rich beyond compare, and ever-so-delicately sweet to match the cabbage goodness. We love it with a dollop of chili crisp for extra crunchy umami and heat. Bonus: For anyone who has ever struggled with prying the leaves off a head of regular green cabbage, you’ll be delighted with the ease of working with the napa variety—though we’ve provided instructions for both.

Flavor Booster

The Other Pepper

The pork and rice filling features a good amount of ground white pepper, a variety favored by many Asian food cultures. Its brighter, grassier, less-hot character is a key to the flavor of the filling. Look for whole white peppercorns in Asian stores, or order online, and grind the usual way.

Size Matters
By Big, We Mean Big

Whether you’re using napa or green cabbage, you need big leaves to encase the filling properly—and you want lots of leaf in every bite. For a napa cabbage, opt for a head that’s at least a foot long; for a green cabbage, get the largest one you can find. You’ll have leftover cabbage for a salad or stir-fry the next day.

Cooking spray

1   large head napa cabbage or green cabbage

1   pound ground pork

1    cup cooked jasmine rice

2/3      cup thinly sliced scallions

1          tablespoon fish sauce

1          teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2      teaspoon kosher salt

1          large carrot, shredded

2          cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2   cups unsalted beef stock

1/4      cup oyster sauce

1          tablespoon Korean toasted sesame oil

Chili crisp (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack placed in the center. Coat a 13 x 9–inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  1. Prepare the cabbage: If using napa cabbage, remove 18 large leaves from the head of cabbage. Trim off 2 or 3 inches from the bottom of each leaf, where the vein is the thickest. Pile the leaves on a microwave-safe plate. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave on High for 5 minutes. Carefully uncover the plate and cool the cabbage slightly.If using a large regular green cabbage, insert a short, sharp knife a couple of inches into the base of the cabbage and cut out a conical piece of the core. This makes removing the stiff outer leaves a bit easier. Follow the instructions in Step 2 to soften in the microwave.
  1. Place the pork in a large bowl. Add the rice, scallions, fish sauce, pepper, salt, carrot, and garlic; mix well with your hands. Divide the pork mixture into 8 equal balls.
  1. To stuff the leaves: If using napa cabbage, arrange 2 leaves on a work surface, with the narrower rib ends overlapping by an inch or two. Spoon one ball of filling into the center of the cabbage leaves. Fold the left leaf over the filling, and roll over to the right side to enclose the filling in a cylinder. Arrange the filled leaves, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining cabbage leaves and filling to form 8 cabbage rolls (you should have a couple of extra leaves in case some tear or are too ratty looking).If using regular cabbage, place a softened leaf before you with the thick stem part closest to you and a “wing” of the leaf on each side. Cut away a V-shaped notch of that thick stem part, 1 to 2 inches long, to make the leaf more pliable. Place the stuffing at the point of the notch so it’s resting on the leaf between the wings. Fold the bottom of the cabbage leaf forward three-fourths of a turn, then fold in both wings of the cabbage and finish rolling—as if you wee rolling an egg roll. As you complete the cabbage rolls, place them in the prepared baking dish. You should have one extra leaf left over.
  1. Whisk together the stock, oyster sauce, and sesame oil in a medium bowl; pour over the cabbage rolls. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until the filling is thoroughly heated, the flavors are married, and the pork is cooked through, 1 hour. Uncover the dish and bake until the liquid is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes; the sauce will be more like broth than gravy. Serve with chili crisp on the side, if desired.

A rich and full-bodied red wine would pair wonderfully with this recipe. Consider a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot, as their bold flavors and smooth tannins would complement the savory and hearty nature of the dish. These wines can stand up to the richness of the pork and the savory umami notes, creating a delightful pairing that enhances the overall dining experience.

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Review by Bobbie Kitto

Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article review. Her opinions are her own.

To make the best of each recipe, use for quality ingredients! Bobbie  highly recommends products from Melissa’s.

The Global Pantry Cookbook: Transform Your Everyday Cooking with Tahini, Gochujang, Miso, and Other Irresistible Ingredients
Hardcover: $28.22 / Kindle: $13.99
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