Cabbage Cups with Sticky Beef


I’ve always used lettuce to make cups/wraps, but the other night I was taking off the bruised outer bits of a small red cabbage and I realized, HEY, these beautiful leaves make the perfect cups. The health benefits of cabbage include frequent use as a treatment for stomach ulcers, headaches, obesity, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, ageing, and Alzheimer’s disease to name but a few.

I only had a few ingredients in my fridge but you can go crazy with the toppings, I’d suggest adding: chopped spring onions, toasted sesame seeds, coriander etc. You can also substitute the beef for chicken, fish or even tofu or steamed aubergine chunks.


1-2 small red cabbages, leaves carefully separated
2 x 250g matured rump steaks, room temperature
Olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper
1 heaped tsp Chinese 5 spice (available at Woolworths and Spar)
1 red pepper, diced
1 green chilli, chopped
1 packet spring onions, chopped
2-3 limes or lemons

For the sticky sauce:

3 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm thumb of ginger, grated
1 red chilli, chopped
2 tbsp sriracha sauce (available at Woolworths)
5 tbsp light soy sauce
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
250ml chicken stock
1 tbsp mirin/rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey/ 1 tsp xylitol

Serves 4
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

Boil the kettle.

Place the chopped ginger, chilli and garlic in a small frying pan with a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil. Fry for 3 minutes. Add to a bowl a long with the sriracha sauce, mirin, soy sauce, honey and cornflour. Pour in the boiling stock and stir until combined. Place the sauce ingredients into a small pot for about 5 minutes, or until shiny and thick. You can add a splash of water if it gets a bit too sticky.

On a chopping board, pat the meat dry with kitchen towel. Then massage the salt, Chinese five spice, black pepper and olive oil into the meat. Place a large non-stick frying pan on high heat. Once the pan is almost smoking add a splash of olive oil and a knob of butter. Fry the meat for 3 minutes on each side (for rare to medium-rare). Rest for 3 minutes. Then slice the meat into bite-sized chunks. Place the meat into the sauce pot and toss until evenly coated.

Now the fun part. Spoon the sticky meat into the cabbage cups, top with peppers, spring onions and any other toppings you have and squeeze over fresh lemon or lime juice.


How beautiful are these colours?

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