Stuffed grape leaves are super common/popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. This particular recipe was a staple in my mother’s home growing up. Mum often recalls fond memories of sitting together with her entire family preparing and stuffing the grape leaves. Next family activity, anyone? Just Kidding. Mama also claims cold dolmehs were one of her favourite childhood snacks; “too weird mum, I can’t write that” but she was adamant. I guess they’re a similar taste to cold pizza or something (Or something). No, I’m just playing, these stuffed grape leaves are so freakin’ delicious you won’t be able to resist licking your fingers/bowl/spoon/pot etc etc throughout the entire cooking process. Although a tad time consuming, they’re fairy easy to make and truly worth every ounce of effort – healthy and seriously satisfying.
I don’t like to overcomplicate my recipes so this one isn’t as detailed as some of you may like it to be, so feel free to leave a question or two in the comments below.
1 onion (diced, small)
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup dried barberries
1/4 raisins or sultanas
1/2 bunch of fresh mint (finely chopped)
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1/2 bunch of fresh chives (finely chopped)
1/2 bunch of fresh tarragon (finely chopped)
1 cup rice
2 cup brown lentils
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
30 grape leaves (mum says the youngish ones are best)
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tbsp brown sugar
In a frying pan, sauté the onion and turmeric in a little oil until golden. Add the barberries, raisins and chopped herbs. Fry for a further minute or three then set aside.
Cook lentils and set aside.
Cook rice and set aside.
In a large bowl mix well all the above ingredients. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
In a large pot, boil the grape leaves for about 5 minutes to soften.
Take the leaves one at a time and lay them on a surface or cutting board (mum made her dolmehs in the air but I’m not that skilled and I’m assuming neither are you – soz).
Take about a table spoonful of the mixture and place it in the middle of the leaf – then wrap.
Add 2 tbsp oil to the bottom of a pot then start arranging the stuffed grape leaves on top.
Mix vinegar, water and sugar together. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour mixture over the dolmehs in the pot.
Cover with lid and cook for 30-45 minutes.
Perfect as an appetiser or side dish OR enjoyed cold, mama styles.
PS those are my mum’s hands! Isn’t she precious?!