Stuffed Cabbage or Malfouf

stuffed cabbage malfouf Stuffed cabbage also known as Malfouf in Arab countries is a very popular dish in eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Its interesting to find different ways to make this same dish. This is another one of my grandmother’s recipes and she has a few secrets to share.

First and foremost, she almost always adds smashed garlic to every single dish she makes. Another major flavor factor is butter, only 2 tablespoons can go a long way. Thirdly, she uses freshly chopped mint in her beef and rice mixture. Fourthly, whenever a recipe calls for a sauce she will usually use broth that she makes and freezes ahead of time for future use. Its a very easy recipe and if you find yourself with left over rice and beef mixture you can always whip up a rice and beef pilaf.

stuffed cabbage malfouf
Always serve with extra slices of lemon!

First you need to soften the cabbage and unravel it. The easiest and best way to do this is to remove the core from the underside of the cabbage and place the cabbage in a large stock pot of boiling salted water. This should take about 10 minutes. The cabbage leaves become soft.  Using tongs just remove the leaves from the core working your way to the center. The longer you boil the cabbage the softer and fragile the leaves become.

stuffed cabbage malfouf
Stuffed cabbage arranged in a pot

Once the cabbage has become undone, place the leaves in a strainer to drain and cool. Place bones or your preferred cut of meat on the bottom of the pan to prevent cabbage from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pan. Once you have your stuffing ready, start rolling!

Stuffed Cabbage (Malfouf)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 30 stuffed cabbage
  • 12 ounces of ground beef mince (or .75 pounds)
  • 5 lamb chops (for the bottom of the pan)
  • 2 cups of basmati rice or Egyptian rice
  • 3 tbs vegtable oil
  • 3 tsp 7 spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh mint
  • 1 whole cabbage (1.4 kg cabbage head)
  • For the sauce:
  • 6 cups of beef broth
  • 4 cups of water
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp 7 spice
  • 1 tsp pepper
  1. In a large stockpot bring 2 liters of salted water to boil
  2. Using a chefs knife cut and remove the core of the cabbage
  3. Place the head of cabbage in the boiling water for about ten minutes and start folding back the leaves once softened
  4. place leaves in a strainer to drain and cool
  5. Mix the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl
  6. once leaves have cooled, place cabbage curve side up (cabbage will look like a shallow bowl) and place stuffing mixture in the middle of the leaf and roll cabbage up, tucking the sides in as you go
  7. In a large pot, place your preferred cut of meat on the bottom to prevent cabbage from burning and sticking to the pot.
  8. Arrange your stuffed cabbage in the pot
  9. Once finished, place a plate on top of the rolled cabbage to prevent movement add sauce mixture.
  10. Cook on medium heat for 1 hour 30 minutes until leaves are fully tender and rice is cooked




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