Vietnamese Stuffed Cabbage Soup (Canh Bắp Cải Gói Thịt)

A beautiful Vietnamese stuffed cabbage soup where you use the outer cabbage leaves as to wrap the parcels stuffed with meat as well as a spring onion stalk to tie and secure it. Traditionally, it’s made with a simple pork filling but I love loading it up with prawn, carrot and mushrooms to pack as much flavour as possible.

Normally a Vietnamese soup (canh) is served as a side dish alongside a few other dishes (a stir fry, stew, vegetables) with rice as part of a meal, but you could eat this on its own too.

I added some rice to my bowl before pouring in the soup and parcels to make it a hearty, comforting meal.

Makes/serves: 25 cabbage parcels, serves 4
Ingredients: 16
Cooking Time: 1 hour 
Skill level: Medium



Cabbage parcels

  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 bunch of spring onions- ideally find small thin ones to act as ties for the cabbage parcels
  • 250g of pork mince
  • 250g of prawns, raw, peeled and finely chopped or minced in a food processor- ideally banana prawns
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 5 dried Chinese or shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of garlic chives, finely chopped, optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  •  Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Vegetable Stock

  • 3 litres of store bought or homemade vegetable stock
Otherwise you could easily make your own using:
  • Parts of the cabbage above (spine, leaves), washed
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 brown onion, peeled

Simply boil and simmer these in a large pot with water for at least an hour. Remove the vegetables, strain and then use as stock. You can keep this in your fridge for up to 2 weeks for your meals or freeze.


  • A few coriander and spring onion stalks, finely chopped
  • A few tablespoons of chilli oil
  • A few tablespoons of fried shallots
  • A few cups of cooked jasmine rice. Optional if you want to make this soup heartier

Watch the process


  1. Prepare the cabbage leaves by discarding the first layer of the outer leaves. Then pluck 10-15 of the next leaves to use as the wrappers.
  2. Use a knife to remove the spine of the cabbage (keep these if you’re making vegetable stock) and cut the cabbage leaves in half so you now have two cabbage wrappers for each leaf. 
  3. Boil a pot of water and blanche each cabbage leaf one by one for about 10 seconds before allowing to cool in a sink with cold water. This stops the cooking process and ensures the cabbage leaves don’t overcook and become too soft to handle later. Once all cabbage leaves have been blanched and plunged into cold water, place onto a tea towel to dry out.
  4. Take your spring onions, remove the roots and then also boil in the same pot of water for 10-seconds, until they have slightly softened and can bend easily. Similarly plunge into cold water to cool and then dry on a tea towel.
  5. For the cabbage parcel fillings, place pork, prawn, carrot, mushrooms and garlic chives into a bowl and mix until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and sesame oil and season to taste with salt, white pepper and sugar as necessary. To taste your filling before using it, I normally cook a small test ‘meatball’ in some boiling water for 30 seconds and taste it and season accordingly before using it.
  6. To roll the parcels, place a cabbage leaf onto a chopping board, place a spoonful of the filling at the cabbage leaf end closest to you. Roll the filling with the cabbage leaf like a burrito, folding the top part of the cabbage over one revolution, then fold in the sides and continuing to roll all the way to the end until there is no more cabbage leaf left. Take a spring onion stalk, place it around the cabbage parcel and tie a knot with it to secure it. Repeat for the remaining cabbage rolls.  
  7. To cook, boil your vegetable stock in a pot and season with a tablespoon of fish sauce and sesame oil. 
  8. Boil the cabbage rolls for about 10 minutes until the filling is fully cooked through. You can pull one of the parcels out and cut into it to check it’s fully cooked at the 10 minute mark.
  9. Spoon the parcels and soup into bowls. You can also add some cooked rice to the bottom of the bowls to make it heartier. Use some scissors to cut your parcels in half to make them more bite sized.
  10. Garnish with coriander, spring onions, fried shallots and chilli oil.
  11. Enjoy immediately.





Looking for soup ideas? Check out some of my favourite soup recipes below; 


If you want to try more of my Vietnamese Recipes, you can find some of my most popular dishes below; 

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