Roll and Roll, and Feed Your Own
Here Comes the Stuffed Cabbage Finger Rolls!
To my daughter Elena who loves them so much!
One of our most consumed family dishes, the Stuffed Cabbage Finger Rolls or Mehchi Malfouf are quite delicious and very nutritious. They bring along many health benefits with the Cabbage, the Rice, the Garlic, the lean meat, the Lemon juice, the tomato and the onion. That’s in addition to the various spices and herbs.
Our Vegetarian version of the Stuffed Cabbage is made in the form of a cake and comes as well with a super nutritious stuffing of Burghul. You may check it out here: Stuffed Cabbage Mold.
While our fine cuisine prides in its various stuffed roll recipes, including our so-famous Stuffed Grape Leafs, we are not the only cuisine in the region to make the Mehchi Malfouf. It spreads in various different recipes along the Levantine and the Mediterranean Basin.
It comes also in two slight variations inside Lebanon, which is the adding of tomato in Beirut and surrounding, and more lemon juice and garlic in our Northern region. As I said in a previous article, we Northern have a strong liking to lemon that abounds in our lands.
In both cases, we roll them as fingers, more slim than fat, maintaining a savory balance of the cabbage and the stuffing. And in all our regions, we consume our Stuffed Cabbage Finger Rolls with plain yogurt on the side, or plain yogurt flavored with a dash of dry mint and a hint of garlic.
So, which recipe you will get from me? Both in one! And you are going to love it! 🙂
Stuffed Cabbage Finger Rolls
- 24 Cabbage leafs Select them from the exterior part of the cabbage.
- 3 cloves Garlic cut in half
For the Stuffing
- 300 gr Ground Beef
- 2 dashes Salt
- 2 dashes Ground Cinnamon
- 2 dashes Pepper
- 1 1/5 cups Rice (small grain) washed
- 1 Tomato (small) chopped thinly
- 5 cloves Garlic minced finely
- 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
For the Broth
- 4 cups Water
- 1/2 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Dry Mint
- A Casserole of 25 cm
In a non-stick pan, cook the meat on medium heat, mixing continuously, until it darkens. Mix in the spices (Group 1), cook for 5 more minutes, and set aside.
Preparing the Cabbage Leafs
Wash the leafs in cold water then drop them in a casserole of boiling water for 1 minute or until they wither.
Remove them into a sieve, run cold water on them, and leave them to drain.
In a separate bowl, mix well the cooked meat with all the ingredients of Group 2
On a cutting board, place a Cabbage Leaf flattened. Scoop on 1 very full tablespoon of the stuffing, align it horizontally, leaving 1 cm from each side of the leaf.
Fold the sides over the stuffing, then roll them in a finger shape. Place it on a plate, and repeat for each leaf until all is done.
In a bowl, mix the broth ingredients.
Cooking the Cabbage Rolls
In the casserole (25 cm), arrange a layer of 12 rolls close together. Gently stick in between half the amount of the cut garlic cloves. Pour on a little of the Broth.
Place another layer of 12 rolls like above and the remaining garlic, and pour on all the remaining broth.
Place a heavy plate on the rolls to hold them still during the cooking process. Press gently down the plate to ensure the broth covers the rolls. You may add water if needed.
Close the casserole and place it on medium-high heat to boiling point.
Lower the heat and allow simmering for 40 minutes. The broth shouldn't dry completed. Make sure you will still have liquid in the bottom.
Option 1: Transfer the cabbage rolls gently into a serving plate, and pour on the the juice that remained.
Option 2: Place the serving plate on the casserole and turn it slowly upside down.
Consume with Plain Yogurt on the side.