Recipe of the Week: Malfoof

Since my recent adventure with grape leaves, I decided to keep the rolling streak alive and try my hand at making malfoof this week. Malfoof, or cabbage rolls, are cabbage leaves that have been slightly boiled and then stuffed with a rice/meat mixture and rolled up into cigar-shaped rolls of yumminess. Since I am only making this dish for a few people, I’m hoping the tediousness of the rolling won’t be too bad.

I can’t find an exact recipe for Malfoof in my mama’s cookbook, but I do have the recipe for the rice mixture which is more important anyway. I’m going to include the steps for preparation from Sahtein and the rice/mixture from my mama.

I have so many memories of my family sitting around a given kitchen table, gossiping and picking at a huge pan of perfectly rolled malfoof. They are addictive and I loved eating mine with tons of lemon juice. I would pick through the pile looking for the lighter-colored leaves because those were always sweeter to me than the darker cabbage leaves.  To be honest, I’m not sure there’s much of a difference in the taste of the leaves based on the color of the leaves, I was just a weird kid who refused to eat the dark green leaves.

Malfoof is one of those meals that I think tastes better when it’s shared by many because it tastes just as good cold as it does warm. So, when you and your family get caught up in a discussion about why you’re in your thirties and still not married, you can be sure that the malfoof you made will still taste good a couple of hours later.

: )


1 large head of cabbage ( this can vary depending on how many people you’re making it for)

Lemon juice (also varies, but at least the juice from 1 large lemon for dish)

8-12 cloves of whole garlic

Rice/Meat mixture*

Separate the leaves of the cabbage. Put a few leaves at a time in boiling water and boil for about 2 minutes. Once you’ve boiled them all and they’ve cooled down, cut the heavy membrane in the middle of the leaf to make rolling easier. Make sure to keep a few leaves in tact to place at the bottom of the pot to help prevent sticking.

Place a little of the rice mixture in the middle of the leaves (this will depend on the size of the leaf – DO NOT overfill!)  and roll. Make rolls about 1/2″ in diameter and 4″ long (but I’d imagine, again, that this depends on the size of the leaves). Place cabbage rolls side by side and in layers until the pot is full.

Place the whole garlic cloves in between the layers of the rolls. Add boiling water to cover the rolls, add the lemon juice and a bit of salt. Bring to a boil and cook slowly for at least an hour over low heat and until water is gone.

Let stand for about 10 minutes and then flip the pot onto a large pan for presentation.

Rice/Meat mixture

1 cup rice

1 lb. of coarsely ground meat (lamb or beef – I’m using beef)





Vegetable oil – about 2 tbsp.

Make sure to wash the rice several times to get the starch out and then add all the ingredients together.  Use for stuffing.

One thought on “Recipe of the Week: Malfoof”

  1. Stuffed cabbage leaves (or “pigs in a blanket” as my grandmother calls them) are a favorite in my family, though I’ve never seen them made with cinnamon! I’ll have to try this version.

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