Stuffed onion skins (Salamouni mehshi)

There is a variety of onions called salamouni here, with an elongated graceful shape; they taste just like regular yellow onions but the neat thing about them is that once boiled, their skins stay curled up, making them perfect for stuffing. 

This recipe is shared by Asma, my wonderful Kurdish friend, who told me it was her father’s favorite dish. I will post a short video of Asma making this in the next 48 hours.

The stuffing here is the basic rice and ground meat one with a generous amount of sumac. Cabbage leaves are included in the pot as well. 


  • 1 pound of beef or lamb bones (preferably from the ribs)
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef or lamb
  • 2 cups of Italian or Egyptian or sushi rice
  • Spices: 1 tsp of salt (or more), 2 tsp of seven-spice (or half cinnamon, half allspice, a touch of nutmeg), 1/4 cup of sumac (or more, to taste).
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 pound of onions
  • 1 pound of cabbage leaves
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 large lemon juiced (or 1/2 cup of lemon juice)
  1. Blanch the onions and cabbage leaves in plenty of salted water till thoroughly wilted and soft. Drain and set aside while preparing the stuffing briefly. 
  2. In a bowl, mix the rice, meat and spices; add one or more tablespoons of oil to the mixture if it feels too dry. Heat  a large pot and brown the bones; set aside. 
  3. Stuff the onion leaves one by one, removing the translucent skin covering between each layer of skin. Stuff the cabbage leaves, removing the stalks and keeping them aside to line the pot. Place the cabbage and onion leaves side by side in the pot. Cover with a small plate to hold them in place (place a rock on top of the plate if necessary for extra protection). Sprinkle sumac over the leaves, add water to the top and bring to a simmer; add the lemon juice gradually as the pot simmers gently for one hour. 
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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  1. Posted February 4, 2012 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Great recipe….a new dish. Thanks for sharing

  2. Posted February 4, 2012 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    That is a very original and interesting dish! The stuffing is wonderful.



  3. Posted February 4, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Never seen these before – I can only imagine how tasty these must be!

  4. Posted February 4, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Loved stuffed onions last year in Greece and these onions are ideal for stuffing.

  5. Posted February 4, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    This looks like a great little dish. Again I learn something new from your blog. Thank you!

  6. Posted February 4, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana, my first time here and I’m so glad I found you! I love Lebanese food and do try and make it from my cookbooks but a REAL person’s recipes are always best! I’ll be back! Lin xx

  7. Posted February 4, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana! This looks so good! Where can one find these onions? Also, a question came up at our family dinner table the other day and I was wondering if you might happen to know the answer. We ate a dish called bamia be khodar (Egyptian for okra with veggies). It is a dish that is essentially okra with a green soup or broth. No one jn my family was able to tell me what is in the soup. Apparently it is a delicacy in Egypt. Any insights?

  8. Joumana
    Posted February 4, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    @Kristin: I will ask; my dad was born and brought up in Egypt and he has many Egyptian connections; I have a close friend who is Egyptian; I know Egyptians love their bamiah! Could it be bamiah with molokhieh? Now I am intrigued! I have only seen bamiah in Egypt made with onions and tomatoes..

  9. Posted February 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I saw this on your facebook…I am not sure people realize how sweet onions can become after cooking…Very nice. This is delicious.

  10. Leila
    Posted February 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. We have a similar dish here in Bosnia, it’s called sogan dolma. We boil regular yellow onions, but choose extra small ones, in water with a splash of vinegar and stuff with ground meat and rice. The stuffed onions are braised in meat broth, and served with creme freche

  11. Kathleen
    Posted February 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    You always offer brand new ideas.

  12. Posted February 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    What an unusual but interesting recipe! The stuffing must taste awesome!

  13. Posted February 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I always found it is a shame that onions seem to be treated like second class vegetables, being used more like a spice. Finally they get to be a bit more in the spotlight! I may not be able to get that kind but maybe I’ll try making them just by removing the centre of onion and stuffin them that way.


  14. Posted February 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    What a flavor bonanza! My favorite organic market gets a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than the typical store. I will be on the lookout for these onions. I can imagine them stuffed with curried tofu and green peas. I agree with Tobias that onions often get treated “like a second class vegetable.” Thanks for reminding us that it isn’t.

  15. Posted February 4, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Oh to find these onions. I love the stuffing and after you blanche the onions they must be so sweet and pliable. Look forward to the video.

  16. Mark Wisecarver
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Wow! Seeing these instantly reminded me of the taste, haven’t had any for more than 30 years but now it’s my turn to make some. I think Sito used to make these around Easter. early Spring each year. Awesome :)

  17. Posted February 5, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana, my family told me that it is made with something called “salk” in arabic, but no one has any idea what it is called in English. Its very tasty though!

  18. Posted February 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Unusual and very tempting recipe! I will look forward to seeing the video to clarify one step for me.

  19. Posted February 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE stuffed onions, Joumana. I haven’t made this dish in such a long time. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.
    I’m bookmarking this!

  20. Posted February 6, 2012 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Wait, I think we have those here…they look like what they call banana shallots here…but the ones in your photo look larger. I love anything involving cooked onions so this is a must-try.

  21. Posted February 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Adorable farcis originaux et savoureux….

  22. Posted February 20, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I made stuffed onions the other day and they are so tasty, with these long shaped ones it would be even easier. I’ll add some sumac next time, it is one of my favourites.

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