Mahshi Malfouf (Middle Eastern Stuffed Cabbage Leaves)

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

A delicious Middle Eastern treat made with rice, lamb, spices and herbs.

Mahshi Malfouf

A few years back, I was looking for original recipes from the Middle East and came across a simple yet delicious recipe: Mahshi Malfouf. It kind of reminded me of my mom's cabbage rolls so I decided to give it a try. It was really good but I added my personal touch to it, made a big batch, and shared it with my Egyptian and Lebanese friends...and it was a hit!

Served alone or as a side dish, these stuffed cabbage rolls are meant to please everyone at the table. Traditionally they are made with lamb so I recommend we stick to tradition on this one.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves up to 10 people


If you are not a fan of lamb, you can substitute with beef.

  • 1 large sized cabbage

  • 1 pound of minced lamb

  • 2 cups of uncooked parboiled rice

  • 1 chopped tomato

  • 1 small onion (finely diced)

  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)

  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

  • 5 garlic cloves (peeled)

  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

  • 1 table spoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

  • 1 cup of lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Method 1: Rolling the Mahshi Malfouf

  1. Mix the minced lamb, uncooked rice, tomato, diced onion, minced garlic, chopped parsley, cumin, ground cinnamon, 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper all together and set aside.

  2. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage (set aside for later use) and carefully remove the stem of the cabbage with a knife. Separate the individual leaves and set aside.

  3. In a large cooking pot, bring 8 to 10 cups of water to a boil.

  4. Remove pot from heat source and submerge 2 to 4 leaves at the time in the hot water.

  5. Once the cabbage leaf has become pliable, remove from the hot water and add one table spoon of the beef and rice mixture to the center and fold the cabbage leaf to form a roll as shown in the picture below. Repeat the process until all leaves have been utilized. Dispose of the hot water the done.

Method 2: Cooking the Mahshi Malfouf

  1. in the large cooking pot, and at the bottom, place all the outer leaves removed earlier from the cabbage.

  2. Gently place all the stuffed cabbage leaves on top to the outer leaves, creating one layer at the time.

  3. Add the lemon juice, the 5 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt.

  4. Add enough water to cover the leaves with at least 3 inches of liquid.

  5. Cover the top leaves with a piece of aluminum foil. Cover with a lid.

  6. Place large pot on the stovetop and bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes.

  7. Remove from heat, drain excess liquid and serve.

  8. You can add some lemon zest and juice on top for extra flavor.

  9. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some black pepper.

  10. Serve and enjoy!!!

Crock Pot Method

If you would like to use a crock pot to make this, just follow the previous instructions. This is an alternate way to make this dish but requires a bit more cooking time.
  1. Follow Steps 1-5 of Method 1.

  2. Follow Steps 1-5 of Method 2.

  3. Allow to cook at medium heat for 5 hours.


#glutenfree #homecook #mahshimalfouf #glutenfreerecipes #joeandtheglutenfreelife #goodeating #glutenfreecooking

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