This is one of my favorite dishes, I prefer the vegeterian stuffed grape leaves much more than the one that has meat in them. This dish is so popular in the Levant region.You will always find it in any Lebanese, Syrian or Palestinian restaurant.It is called ” Warak Einab Bil Zeit” which means grapes leaves that are cooked in oil, and as I know in Syria it is called Yalangi.I’ve seen stuffed grape leaves in cans, I never really tasted it, but I can’t imagine myself eating stuffed grape leaves out of a can.Making stuffed leaves may take a while, but the outcome is rewarding.I usually make these while I’m watching TV, so time pass by quickly. Serve these cold as an appetizer or as side dish.
1 jar of grape leaves (only half is used)
1 cup short grain rice
1 cup finely diced onions
¾ cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup finely diced tomatoes
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 to 3 potatoes peeled and sliced
1 to 2 peppers any color
6 cups water
Rinse grape leaves with water. Meanwhile bring a pot of water to boil. Put Grape leaves in boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain Grape leaves and let them cool. (If you start working with them while they are hot they might tear).
While grape Leaves are cooling prepare stuffing.
Rinse rice and drain. Add 1 cup of finely diced onions,3/4 cup of finely chopped parsley,1 cup finely diced tomato, juice of 2 lemons, 6 tbsp. olive oil,1/2 tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper.
***I used only half of the Jar , because I don’t use the big and thick leaves because you will be chewing these forever no matter how long you cook them.So make sure to choose the small to medium size grape leaves.
Prepare your pot, by putting a layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom. The potatoes will prevent the grape leaves from sticking to the pot and they will turn out to be really delicious potatoes.
Lay down the grape leaf , rough side up. Remove top of the stem. Spoon some of the stuffing on the leaf , and roll, since its hard to explain in words , below is a step by step illustrations pictures.
Start stacking your grape Leaves in the pot as you go. After you done put some pieces of peppers. The peppers will add a great flavor to the grape leaves.
Top the Grape leaves with a couple of plates and a bowl filled with water . ( This will prevent the grape leaves from unrolling).
Prepare the liquid that the grapes leaves will be cooked with by mixing 6 cups of water , juice of 3 lemons, 1/2 tsp salt and1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Pour the the liquid in the pot from the side so the liquid will get under the plates. Cover the pot , Bring to boil and reduce the heat to medium low heat on a gas range that would be around number 4. Cook for 1.5 hours.
Now holding the plates down with a wooden spoon or anything else, Drain the liquid. Remove Plates. Then get a big plate and put it facing down over the pot,holding the pot from the handles while also holding the plate , Flip the whole thing , just like you do with a cake.
Let cool completely before serving the colder the better.