These little packets work well as an appetizer or side at potlucks. The bitterness of the cocoa contrasts nicely with sweet steamed cabbage leaves, and the rice and lentils make it filling. Use a large-leafed cabbage if you can; it will make it easier to wrap up the rolls. They can be made ahead and served warm or cold.
Makes about 12 rolls
Takes 1 hour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
1/3 cup nibs
Salt and pepper
1 head of cabbage
Put oil in a saucepan on low heat. Mince the onion and add it to the pan. Cook for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s translucent. Mince the garlic, stir it in, and cook for another minute, then add stock.
When the water boils, add the lentils and rice. Simmer for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the nibs. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste.
Cut the conical core out of the bottom of the cabbage and remove about a dozen of the large outer leaves, being careful not to tear them. Leaves on older or smaller cabbages can be hard to remove without tearing, but they can be softened and loosened by steaming for 10 minutes.
Steam the leaves for about 15 minutes until they begin to bend easily. If thick stems prevent the leaves from rolling, cut a V-shaped section of stem out of each leaf. Put a few tablespoons of filling on each leaf, fold the sides in, and roll them into miniature cabbage-burritos.
Stack the rolls, seam-side down, in a steamer over a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, and cook for 10–15 minutes.