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Cabbage Leaves Stuffed with Meat & Rice, Rhodesli-style

Yaprakes de kol kon karne

About the Recipe

On my return from Europe I was so excited to see these beautiful cabbages in my garden ready to be picked.

The crisp, smooth, fresh leaves are just perfect for making Rhodesli style cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice, flavored with fresh herbs and allspice, gently cooked on a bed of vegetables in olive oil.

“Yaprakes de Kol” evoke such heart-warming memories of my beloved dad Sam Hanan who loved savoring this dish, especially the day after they were made when the delicious flavors have had time to meld and develop… … of course with wedges of lemon as the Rhodeslis seem to have such a predilection for that extra squeeze of lemon on all their food! 🍋

I do hope you make this meal enlisting family members to help roll and fill the leaves and enjoy sharing this hearty dish together.


1 tbsp salt 1 large cabbage, outer leaves removed

For the filling: 2 tbsp olive oil ½ cup finely chopped onion 1 cup finely chopped scallions (spring onions) 500g (1lb 2oz) ground beef or lamb ⅔ cup short-grain rice, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, rinsed and drained ½ cup canned chopped tomatoes ¼ cup water ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill ¼ tsp ground allspice or cumin salt and black pepper to taste

For the vegetable base: 2 tbsp olive oil 1 cup roughly chopped cabbage stalks 1 cup peeled and diced carrots 1 small potato, peeled and diced 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes 1 cup roughly sliced scallions (spring onions) 2 tender celery stalks with leaves, chopped 1 tbsp tomato paste salt and ground black pepper to taste

For cooking: 3 garlic cloves 2 cups hot chicken stock 1 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour) ½ cup fresh lemon juice

For serving: 2 lemons, cut in wedges chopped fresh dill


Prepare the leaves: Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a 1 tbsp salt. Cut out and discard the core of the cabbage. Place the whole cabbage into the boiling water. When the water returns to the boil, cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender and pliable enough to separate the leaves but not cooked all the way through. Briefly place the cabbage into a large bowl of iced water and drain well in a colander. Carefully pull the outer leaves off, keeping them intact as far as possible, taking care as they break easily. Reserve 1 cup roughly chopped inner cabbage stalks for the vegetable base. Make the filling: Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the onions and scallions for 3 minutes, stirring, until softened. Combine all the remaining ingredients for the filling in a bowl together with the cooked onions and kneed well. Make the vegetable base: Heat the oil in a shallow, large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste and season to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables have cooked. Add hot water as necessary. Set aside. Stuff the leaves: Lay a few cabbage leaves at a time on a work surface, outer side of the leaves down. With a sharp knife carefully cut large leaves in half along the central rib, discarding the rib. With smaller leaves cut away the thicker part of the stalk end at the base of each cabbage leaf. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling (depending on the size of the leaf) in the centre of the cut end. Fold both sides inward over the filling and roll up snugly into a cigar shape. Repeat with remaining leaves until all the filling is used. To cook: Arrange the stuffed leaves side-by-side, seam side down, over the vegetable base, packing them tightly in concentric circles. Slip the garlic cloves in between the parcels. Weigh the stuffed cabbage leaves down with an inverted heatproof plate large enough to fit the pan to keep the yaprakes from unraveling during cooking. Pour the hot stock down the inside of the pan just enough to cover the yaprakes. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until the filling has cooked. Shake the pan from time to time to prevent the vegetables from catching. Add the cornflour to a little of the hot liquid and pour in with the lemon juice. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes. To serve: Remove the plate and serve hot in the pan with lemon wedges. Garnish with fresh chopped dill.

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