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Malfouf cabbage rolls

Malfouf Mahshi (Stuffed Cabbage rolls)

Cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice and cooked with garlic and mint

Course Main Course
Cuisine Lebanese
Keyword Authentic, Dinner Party, Healthy
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Zaatar and Zaytoun


  • 1 very large cabbage or 2 medium
  • Boiling water for blanching
  • 2 cups short grain rice
  • 300 g ground beef or lamb or mix of both
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp seven spice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup regular olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 1 bulb of garlic peeled
  • 2 cups of water + 2 tsp of salt + 1 lemon
  • 2 -3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 tsp of dried mint


  1. Carefully separate the cabbage leaves trying not to rip them. Then in batches, add them to a pot of boiling water
  2. Simmer for around five minutes until soft and set aside.
  3. When they have cooled, trim off the thick stems (you can layer the bottom of the pot with these), and divide the very large leaves into half so they are no bigger than your hand

  4. In a mixing bowl, add the ground meat, rice, seven spice, black pepper, cinnamon, 1/4 cup of regular olive oil, the tomato concentrate and salt. Combine well and place on the table

  5. On a large plate, flatten out a cabbage leaf
  6. Take around 2 tablespoons of the stuffing and arrange in a cigar shape near the bottom of the cabbage leaf and simply roll up (see video)
  7. Peel a whole bulb of garlic and roughly slice. Scatter the garlic between the layers of cabbage rolls
  8. Prepare the brine by mixing 2 cups of water with 2 tsps of salt, and the juice of a whole lemon

  9. When you have finished rolling the cabbage leaves, place a heatproof plate on top and pour over the brine water
  10. Bring to the boil on high heat for around 20 minutes. Taste the brine water to see if you need to adjust the lemon/salt levels.

  11. Remove the plate and then reduce the heat to a medium low simmer and add a good drizzle of regular olive oil and another of pomegranate molasses, as well as the dried mint

  12. Cover with a lid and cook for another hour or so until the cabbage leaves are well done, tasting one malfouf roll before you turn the heat off

Recipe Video