Palestinian Stuffed Grape Leaves

I found this recipe and guide online at a site called Arab Recipes, Your Cooking Guide. I cannot find a name associated with the account. So until I do, I simply give credit to the kind knowledgeable person who shared one of my delights from Palestine. To the adventurous reader, trust me. The time and effort you put into this recipe will be greatly rewarded by family and your grateful palate.

I realize that most will not prepare these, but it’s fun to read how they are made.

Throughout the West Bank, villagers sell plastic bottles stuffed with grape leaves.  My mother gave me this one. 

Waraqa Dawali, or Palestinian Stuffed Grape Leaves

40-50 grape leaves

1 cup rice, soaked, rinsed and drained

1/2 lb grassfed ground beef or lamb

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp allspice

2 tbsp olive oil

Seasoned stock (chicken, lamb, beef) or water, enough to cover

1.Before you make your grape leaves, make sure that your leaves are clean, and the stems are removed.  Blanch the grape leaves for four to five minutes until they are tender but still firm enough to roll. 

2. Mix together the rice and meat stuffing.  Line the bottom of your pot with grape leaves to prevent sticking.

3.  Roll your grape leaves (see tutorial below)

4.  Pack your grape leave in tightly into a heavy pot, seam side down, creating a new layer when necessary.  Pour in enough stock or water to reach the top of the grape leaves.  Whether you use stock or water, make sure to add a little salt to taste.  If you like, you can place an inverted plate on top, and weigh it down with something heavy, to prevent the grape leaves from unfurling. 

5.  Bring to a simmer and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the grape leaves are very tender. 

To Serve:  Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over your grape leaves and serve with a bowl of plain, whole yogurt for dipping. 

Tutorial:  How to Roll Grape Leaves

Start with washed grape leaves.

Boil for five minutes, or until tender.  Arrange into stacks, facing the same direction.

The leaves have a smooth side and a side with raised ribs.  Make sure the ribbed side is facing up.  Then place one teaspoon of the filling on the leaf, and shape it like a small log.  If you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to over stuff it.  Try to resist.  My mother made me reduce my stuffing on my first several attempts. 

Fold over the base of the leaf, pressing down tightly.

Turn the sides in.

Roll as tightly as you can.

Place seam side down in your pot, packing in your leaves tightly.  Follow the recipe above, and soon you will be able to dig into this: 

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