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
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.