Friday, October 17, 2008

Stuffed Grape Leaves Vine Leaves Waraq Ainab Dolmeh

I recommend trying to find fresh grape leaves or fresh grape leaves that have been vacuum sealed in a jar at a middle eastern grocery rather than using the ones preserved in brine. the taste of the non-brined ones is just far better. If you can get your hands on them, all you need to do is blanch them briefly in boiling water. Take out about half the jar and freeze the rest.
Here is my recipe. It is for the "hot" version, meaning it contains meat so it is served warm, as opposed to the vegetarian one which is eaten cold. You can dip them in yoghurt while you eat them:

For the stuffing mix together:
1 fresh diced tomato
1 handful of flat leaf parsley chopped finely
pinch salt
pinch of all spice
pinch of red chili flakes
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 finely diced onion
1/2 lb ground mutton
1 cup short grain Arabic rice washed but not soaked (ask for Lebanese or "Egyptian" rice at the Mid East grocer---you must use this rice for the authentic version, long grain rice is not the right kind. This rice looks similar to sushi rice or risotto rice)
grape leaves: blanch and set aside

For the broth:
alot of chicken stock, enough to cover your layers of wara' ainab/dolmeh in the pot
about 1-2 tbs lemon juice depending on how much broth you use
3-4 cloves garlic cut into slivers
1/4 cup tomato paste
lots and lots of olive oil.

Line your pot with any torn grape leaves. Put your rolled stuffed grape leaves in the pot, stuff tighly, put slivers of garlic here and there between the grape leaves, cover with the broth, put a sheet of tin foil on top, a plate, and small but heavy jar of water (to weigh the plate down), allow to boil gently once, cover the pot, lower the flame to the lowest heat, and cook for one hour. The rice should be perfectly cooked, not mushy.

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