Malfoof – Stuffed Cabbage Leaves Recipe

RatingDifficultyAdvanced

This Polish-inspired favorite is made with cabbage leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice and simmered in tomato soup.

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time1 hr 30 minsCook Time2 hrs 30 minsTotal Time4 hrs
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 75 g Minced meat (lamb, lean)
  cup Rice (short grain, e.g. Egyptian)
 ¼ Cabbage (large)
 2 ¾ Garlic cloves
 2 ¾ Garlic cloves (crushed)
 2 ¾ Garlic cloves (chopped)
 ¼ tsp Cumin (powder)
 ¼ tbsp Cumin (seeds)
  tbsp Mint (dried)
 1 tsp Salt
  tsp Black pepper
 ¼ tsp Arabic mixed spice (or All Spice)
  tbsp Safflower ('Usfur' in Arabic)
 ¼ cup Lemon juice
 ½ tbsp Pomegranate molasses ('Dibs Rumman' in Arabic)
  tbsp Sunflower oil
 Water


1

Bring some water to boil in a large pot. Then put the cabbage in the water, stem down, for a few minutes to allow the leaves to soften, then lower the heat to medium.

2

Flip the cabbage over, and using a sharp knife cut deeply around the core. This separates the leaves from the stem.

3

After a few minutes, the leaves start separating from the cabbage head as they soften. Carefully remove the outer leaves by pushing them away using the edge of a knife or spoon, then place them on a sieve. Continue flipping the cabbage and removing the leaves as they soften. You may have to cut deeper around the core to release the leaves from the stem. The idea is not to cook the cabbage, but to just soften the leaves so they can be rolled.

4

Put the rice in a bowl and add a bit of water and all the safflower powder. Mix well so the rice changes color. Don’t use a lot of water, just enough to dissolve the safflower powder.

5

Mix the minced meat with ground cumin, cumin seeds, Arabic mixed spice, black pepper chopped garlic, salt and sunflower oil. Add a bit of water if you find the mixture too dry or lumpy to make it easier to handle for rolling. Careful not to wet it too much.

6

Take each cabbage leaf and shave off the thick part of the stem. Then cut the leaf in half along the stem and cut again into quarters. If the leaves are small cut only in half.

7

Keep the shaved part of the stems and place them in a pot until they form a layer, then add the whole garlic cloves on top. (This stops the cabbage rolls from getting burnt while cooking.)

8

To roll the cabbage leaves, put some of the meat on a leaf, roll the leaf over and continue to roll. Once done cut off each end, but not too close to the stuffing.

9

Tightly layer the stuffed cabbage rolls in the pot forming circles.

10

Sprinkle the remaining salt on the cabbage rolls and put a plate on top - the weight of the plate keeps the cabbage rolls in place. Cover and place the pot on medium heat to allow the water to be released from the cabbage (about 30 minutes).

11

Now uncover and remove the plate. Add some more sunflower oil and pour in enough hot water to submerge the cabbage rolls. Put the plate back on top and press down gently. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat, then cook on medium for 30 minutes.

12

Without removing the plate, add the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, crushed garlic and dried mint. Lift the pot and swirl the water around so the ingredients mix well in the water. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Then put the heat on low and simmer for one hour.

13

Once cooked remove from the heat and let rest covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and carefully pour out the excess sauce while holding the plate in place, then remove the plate. Place a large serving plate on top of the pot and carefully but quickly flip it over, keeping your thumbs on the serving plate as you do this.

Ingredients

 75 g Minced meat (lamb, lean)
  cup Rice (short grain, e.g. Egyptian)
 ¼ Cabbage (large)
 2 ¾ Garlic cloves
 2 ¾ Garlic cloves (crushed)
 2 ¾ Garlic cloves (chopped)
 ¼ tsp Cumin (powder)
 ¼ tbsp Cumin (seeds)
  tbsp Mint (dried)
 1 tsp Salt
  tsp Black pepper
 ¼ tsp Arabic mixed spice (or All Spice)
  tbsp Safflower ('Usfur' in Arabic)
 ¼ cup Lemon juice
 ½ tbsp Pomegranate molasses ('Dibs Rumman' in Arabic)
  tbsp Sunflower oil
 Water

Directions

1

Bring some water to boil in a large pot. Then put the cabbage in the water, stem down, for a few minutes to allow the leaves to soften, then lower the heat to medium.

2

Flip the cabbage over, and using a sharp knife cut deeply around the core. This separates the leaves from the stem.

3

After a few minutes, the leaves start separating from the cabbage head as they soften. Carefully remove the outer leaves by pushing them away using the edge of a knife or spoon, then place them on a sieve. Continue flipping the cabbage and removing the leaves as they soften. You may have to cut deeper around the core to release the leaves from the stem. The idea is not to cook the cabbage, but to just soften the leaves so they can be rolled.

4

Put the rice in a bowl and add a bit of water and all the safflower powder. Mix well so the rice changes color. Don’t use a lot of water, just enough to dissolve the safflower powder.

5

Mix the minced meat with ground cumin, cumin seeds, Arabic mixed spice, black pepper chopped garlic, salt and sunflower oil. Add a bit of water if you find the mixture too dry or lumpy to make it easier to handle for rolling. Careful not to wet it too much.

6

Take each cabbage leaf and shave off the thick part of the stem. Then cut the leaf in half along the stem and cut again into quarters. If the leaves are small cut only in half.

7

Keep the shaved part of the stems and place them in a pot until they form a layer, then add the whole garlic cloves on top. (This stops the cabbage rolls from getting burnt while cooking.)

8

To roll the cabbage leaves, put some of the meat on a leaf, roll the leaf over and continue to roll. Once done cut off each end, but not too close to the stuffing.

9

Tightly layer the stuffed cabbage rolls in the pot forming circles.

10

Sprinkle the remaining salt on the cabbage rolls and put a plate on top - the weight of the plate keeps the cabbage rolls in place. Cover and place the pot on medium heat to allow the water to be released from the cabbage (about 30 minutes).

11

Now uncover and remove the plate. Add some more sunflower oil and pour in enough hot water to submerge the cabbage rolls. Put the plate back on top and press down gently. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat, then cook on medium for 30 minutes.

12

Without removing the plate, add the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, crushed garlic and dried mint. Lift the pot and swirl the water around so the ingredients mix well in the water. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Then put the heat on low and simmer for one hour.

13

Once cooked remove from the heat and let rest covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and carefully pour out the excess sauce while holding the plate in place, then remove the plate. Place a large serving plate on top of the pot and carefully but quickly flip it over, keeping your thumbs on the serving plate as you do this.

Malfoof – Stuffed Cabbage Leaves Recipe

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