Malfouf (Cabbage Rolls)

Any fan of Lebanese cuisine will be familiar with the word mihshy (Levantine Arabic for 'stuffed') as it appears in an extensive array of vegetable centric dishes. The Lebanese know no bounds when it comes to stuffing things - you give us a vegetable and we'll stuff it, we'll roll it into fingers and we'll have a ball doing so. The art of putting something inside of something else isn't lost on us, my friend. Mihshy's are comfortable and homely and you'll hardly ever see them on restaurant menus (aside from stuffed vine leaves!) which is such a shame. One of Lebanon's greatest exports is its cuisine and many people have come to fall in love with it but not many obsessive eaters know about the other face of Lebanese food. So it came to my surprise when upon meeting someone for the first time they expressed their absolute love of all things Lebanese cuisine and in particular Malfouf Mihshy. According to him Lebanese immigrants to Yucatan, Mexico didn't just inspire tacos al pastor but also passed on some home-cooked classics. Along with your tripe soup you can eat delicate cabbage rolls all prepared lovingly. His description made me crave a taste of home so I just had to go back and cook this up.

1 large green cabbage (you can use several varieties depending on desired texture, taste and colour)
160g minced lamb
100g short-grain rice
a pinch of Lebanese seven spice
1 tsp sweet paprika
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 tsp dried mint
1 beef tomato
100ml of lemon juice
300ml water 
salt and pepper to taste

Trim cabbage head and core. Cut leaves into triangles of your desired size. Blanch the leaves in boiling water until tender. Mix the rice, lamb and Lebanese seven spice together. Place a teaspoon of the rice mixture at the bottom of each cabbage triangle, fold in the sides and roll. Place each completed roll in a large pan. Once completed, add the water, lemon juice, tomato, paprika and seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and add the mint and crushed garlic cloves and cook for a further 10 minutes. Serve with thick Greek style yoghurt and a sprinkle of dried mint.


15 April 2010 at 12:25 Anonymous said...
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16 April 2010 at 13:45 Phoo-D said...

These sound really interesting! What is in Lebanese seven spice? I don't think I've seen that before.

18 April 2010 at 12:13 M. A. Salha said...

I knew I forgot something! Lebanese Seven Spice is open to interpretation but that one I used had: black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, nutmeg and fenugreek.

2 June 2010 at 18:38 Cherine said...

I'm Lebanese and I love this dish!!

26 May 2011 at 09:42 S said...

I'm so making this! Where would I get the Lebanese seven spice? Teach me Obi Wan

15 April 2012 at 08:56 Aliyah said...

Looks delecious. What kind of cabbage did you use?

23 September 2013 at 00:18 Thad Nakao said...

love lebanese cabage rolls ( mishi malfouf ) What's missing from the recipe is cinnamon… their meat dishes usually have cinnamon

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