Recipe for "Warak malfoof"
(Stuffed cabbage cigar rolls, the Lebanese way)
between 2 1/2 to 3 kg (1) (regular or "curled".NOT the red one)
sized tomatoes, around 200 grams each (2)
of Italian white rice
of minced meat. Ask for the "medium grind" (should not be ground very smooth)
spice mixture. You'll find it in stores under "Jamaica spices"
or ĞAll Spiceğ, (contain cloves and cinnamon). It's a very mild and soft
spice, so you can use it to taste. It is the only spice mixtures
authorized for people with ulcers.
of crushed dried mint leaves
cloves of about one to two bulbs (or to taste)
How to prepare the cabbage:
Let water boil in a big pot.
Do not worry about the cabbage leaves being "thick", unlike
in the Med.
You turn the cabbage upside down, and remove its "butt"
with a knife, in a circular and diagonal manner, with your knife pointing
towards the inside. Once it is removed, it will look like a big solitaire
diamond, or a circular pyramid (if I may express myself this way :-)
This is to let you peel it easier, later. Then, throw away the first leaf
Place the whole cabbage in the boiling water for a few
seconds. Start removing the leaves, as they get soft and peel off easy.
Continue until all desired size leaves are removed. Keep the balance for
Now, with a knife, cut off the "middle rib" of each leave,
that is too "rigid", without taking it off completely, in order to keep
the whole leaf. Just make it thinner. Do not throw the cut off "ribs".
Add them up to the "un-rollable" remain of the cabbage for a later use.
The Stuffing Mixture:
Put one of the tomatoes in the boiling water for a few
seconds, take it out, and peel its skin off. Cut it all in cubes, as small
Place the tomato cubes, the rice (which you must have
thoroughly, previously) and the minced meat in
a bowl, add the spices and the salt (to taste. But bear in mind that we'll
be using water, another tomato, the remaining "ribs" as well as garlic
and two lemons' juice, later on. These can support some extra salt)
Mix them all
Slice the second tomato in circles, and place them in
the bottom of a middle sized pot, covering it up, if possible. Now,
take the "left over" rib cuts and the remaining smaller leaves, and spread
them on top of the tomatoes. This will allow a perfect simmering of the
"cabbage cigar rolls", without any burning or overcooking.
Place a "line" of the mixture on the border of the cabbage
start rolling it like a cigar, after bringing its two
extremities to the
inside, in order to seal it. You should have a "cabbage
thing, when properly done. Try to adjust the size of
each leaf. The big first ones may need to be divided.
As each "cigar" is rolled, place it in the pot, in a circular
in a bicycle wheel shape). They should be close to each
Bear in mind that they will expand during cooking time,
because of the rice).
When the first layer is completed, place 4 to 6 peeled
symmetrically on to, and start the second layer. repeat
with the garlic cloves, until all cigars have been placed.
Now, take a dish, (choose a size that will fit INSIDE the
pot), turn it
upside down, cover the last cigar layer with it, and
ZIP the cigars
slightly... sorry, I mean "compress" them a little, with
the palm of
your hand. As you keep the pressure, add water, until
your hand is fully covered with water, as your pressure hasn't been released.
KEEP the dish there. Let it simmer on a very low heat,
45 to 60 minutes.
When you see they are cooked, remove the dish, and leave
Sprinkle the crushed mint leaves equally on top. Now,
squeeze the tow lemons, and pour the juice over the mint leaves.
Let it simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
to the Kitchen Corner