Stuffed Cabbage (Mehchi Malfouf)

A small girl asked her mother, “Mum where did I come from?” Her mother answered, “I found you in a cabbage”. This little girl believed her mother until she grew up and had her own children. Surprise surprise, it wasn’t a cabbage that brought them! That little girl was me, and as a mother, I was asked her the same question by my children and passed down this old wives’ tale just for laughs.

Every time I prepare any dish with cabbage, I remember this story and say to myself: poor delicious cabbage! how people have mistreated you. Its such a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, stuffed or in a salad. However, I have yet to find any kids in inside!

Stuffed cabbage is a popular dish among Arab countries, with small differences in preparation. As per usual, I’ll be showing you how to make it like my mother taught me, a la Libanaise.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kilo cabbage
  • 200 gs minced meat
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • about 15 clove of garlic peeled
  • 2 cups of rice
  • salt, 7 spices
  • lemon juice
  • dried mint
  • some corn oil

Preparation:

  • Separate the cabbage, leaf by leaf
  • Put it in a casserole of boiling salted water and cook for about 7 minutes, then strain it
  • In a small saucepan, fry the minced meat in some oil
  • Crush the garlic cloves, add to the meat while cooking and season with salt and 7 spices. Turn off the fire after a few minutes, before the meat is well cooked
  • Wash the rice and mix it with the meat. This is now your stuffing for the cabbage
  • Take one leaf of cabbage, open it carefully, place 1 teaspoon of the stuffing in the center and roll it. Repeat this with the rest of the leaves until you finish your stuffing
  • Put some corn oil in a pot and pile the stuffed cabbage inside delicately with the garlic cloves in between rows
  • On the top, place a plate upside down to keep them together while cooking
  • Fill the pot with water until the cabbage is all covered, and not more
  • Cook it on a low heat for about 25 minutes or until you find that rice is tender
  • Add lemon juice for flavor
  • Sprinkle with dried mint

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Fun with Zucchini, Part Two: Heart of the Zucchini (Lib el Koussa)

Today I’m gonna teach you what do you with the zucchini insides that you put aside in yesterday’s post.

During the World War II, people in the Lebanese countryside did their best to use everything they had when cooking and leave nothing to waste because they were running out of ingredients to make food. This is the reason why there is a large variety of vegetarian plates in Lebanese cuisine. When people used to make stuffed zucchini, they kept the removed core and found a way to cook it and make it delicious.

There are various recipes for the zucchini innards, the one I made today among them. This is a favorite of mine and I’m sure it will be one of yours when you try it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • The inner part of the zucchini (about one cup and a half)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine molasses
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mint

Preparation:

  • Chop the onion and the cloves of garlic finely
  • In a small saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onion with garlic until slightly golden
  • Add the zucchini and fry with the onion and garlic for 2 minutes
  • Cover the casserole and on a very low heat cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add now the grenadine molasses and stir well for few seconds
  • Put the fire off and sprinkle the dried mint
  • Put it on a plate, serve with bread (Lebanese pita is recommended) and enjoy

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)