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Malfouf - Stuffed Cabbage

Malfouf -A Fantastic and Delicious Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • Author: Wafa Shami


If you are familiar with Palestinian cuisine, you probably know that stuffing vegetables is something we do often and with different kinds of vegetables. Now, you may have had grape leaves which are more popular worldwide than malfouf. However, malfouf may not get the same international reputation but it is pretty popular in Palestine.


  • 2 cups Egyptian or cal-rose rice, washed and rinsed
  • 2 medium-small sized cabbage
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoon salt (and some to add with boiled water)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • fresh lemon juice (as needed)


  1. Cut the core off of the cabbage head.
  2. Fill up a large cooking pot with hot water and sprinkle some salt, make sure the water is not filled all the way to the top as you need to place the cabbage.
  3. Either keep the cabbage as is or cut in half depending on the size of the pot then dip in boiled hot water.
  4. Keep them in the boiling water under medium heat for about 2 minutes, then you’ll start to notice the leaves are easily separating from one another, make sure that the leaves are completely dipped in water, leave them for another 2 minutes until they become tender. Set them aside to drain.
  5. For stuffing: in a bowl, add rinsed rice, meat (minced or ground), cumin, allspices, salt and vegetable oil. Mix all together until well combined.
  6. For the rolling process: cut each cabbage leaf into about 3-4 inches X 6 inches sheets (that may take different shapes according to the leaf shape). Cut off large stalks in the middle of each leaf and place them at the bottom of a large cooking pot.
  7. Place each sheet on a smooth surface. Add about one tablespoon of stuffing to each sheet and then spread it across the sheet leaving some space in the edges. Roll sheet forward toward stuffing (it's okay to leave the roll edges open) and place it in the pot. Repeat for each sheet until you fill half of the pot. Add half quantity of garlic cloves unpeeled.
  8. Continue to layer up the pot with cabbage rolls. Add the remaining amount of garlic, some salt, some butter or oil on the top.
  9. Cover cabbage rolls by water (same level of the rolls) and place the pot over medium heat until water is boiling. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to the minimum and let simmer for about 1 hour until the rice is fully cooked.
  10. Serve hot with extra lemon squeezed on top and some plain yogurt (optional)


Note: The other option with the stems if you don't want to add them to the pot, is to chop them and saute them with onions and olive oil or with any leftover meat.