Malfouf (Cabbage Rolls)

Malfouf (Cabbage Rolls)

Adapted By Rebecca White from Tamara Abuomar

Author note: Malfouf is a Jordanian cabbage roll. Recently, I had the honor to learn how to make this Jordanian dish from my friend and neighbor. Together, we wrote Tamara’s family recipe down for readers like you. This version of malfouf has been adapted for the electric pressure cooker. Depending on preference, feel free to peel the garlic cloves or not. Be prepared to remove any hard stems or undercooked parts of the cabbage leaves. Some leaves will not cook evenly due to the thick stem that is found in cabbage. Larger leaves may need to be halved. Any remaining filling can be frozen if using fresh ground beef and any remaining cabbage leaves can also be frozen (plastic bags are a good storage container). To read more about Jordanian food, read my article in The Dallas Morning News.

1 head green cabbage

3/4 pounds ground beef

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups basmati rice, uncooked

3 teaspoons Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

10 garlic cloves, crushed

juice from 4 lemons

  1. Slice the bottom layer off of the base of the cabbage. Make four indentions around the stem of the cabbage to allow water to seep in to thoroughly cook the interior.
  2. Fill a stock pot with water and bring to boil and reduce to a simmer. Place the cabbage into the stock pot and cook until softened, rotating and pushing off layers of leaves while cooking over medium-low heat, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the cabbage and place into a colander. Place the colander on top of a large stock pot. Let the cabbage strain for 10-15 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Place the ground beef, olive oil, uncooked rice, salt, pepper, cinnamon and ground cardamom into a large mixing bowl. Mix well until combined. If the mixture seems dry, add additional olive oil. This mixture needs to be fragrant. Add additional cardamom and cinnamon to preferrence.
  5. Take a cabbage leaf and place a small amount (1-2 teaspoons) of the beef mixture into the bottom third of the cabbage leaf. Roll until the beef mixture is completely covered. Squeeze the rolled cabbage leaf in your hand. This will help to spread the rice and beef mixture throughout the leaf. Place seam-side down. Continue this process until all the cabbage leaves are used.
  6. Place the cabbage rolls into the Instant Pot insert and create one solid layer of rolls. Add a few garlic cloves and a generous sprinkling of cardamom. Continue this process until all cabbage leaves are used. Fill with water until the last layer of rolls is barely covered.
  7. Secure with the lid and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Release pressure naturally (10-15 minutes). Gently strain excess liquid and remove malfouf from the Instant Pot. Serve with lemon juice and salt to taste.

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