2 hours + 3 hours for the rice to soak + Time to cool off before eating
1 hour, 45 minutes
- 1½ cups (325 g) uncooked medium-grain white rice, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 onion, ﬁnely diced
- 2½ teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 tomatoes, ﬁnely diced
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, minced
- 6 tablespoons (90 ml) fresh lemon juice, divided
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 tablespoons dried, crushed mint
- One (1 lb/500 g) jar of brined grape leaves, rinsed
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
- Hot water, to cook the grape leaves
- Plain yogurt (optional, for serving)
- 2 lemons, wedged (optional, for serving)
- Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt, and sauté until the onion starts to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely.
- Combine the onion, remaining 1¼ teaspoons salt, tomato, parsley, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, mint, and rice in a large bowl; cover the bowl and refrigerate 3 hours.
- Soak the grape leaves in hot water for 10 minutes, changing the water twice; drain. Trim off the stems, if necessary.
- To stuff the grape leaves, lay 1 leaf ﬂat on your work surface with the shiny side facing down. Place 2 to 3 teaspoons of ﬁlling (adjust the amount based on the size of your leaves) across the leaf above the point where the stem was cut off. Fold the bottom of the leaf up over the stuffing, and then fold over the sides of the leaf onto the stufﬁng. Roll up the leaf, tucking in the sides as you go. Continue this way until all the leaves are stuffed. (Note: If you have any leaves that are very small, you can place 2 leaves overlapping and stuff them.)
- Line the bottom of a medium-large, thick-bottomed, lidded pot with the potato. Arrange the grape leaves (seam-side down) in compact rows on top of the potatoes, continuing with additional layers until all the grape leaves are in the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt on top of the leaves; place a heavy, ﬂat, disc-shaped object (such as a heat-safe lid or plate) into the pan on top of the leaves. Add enough hot water to cover the leaves by 2 inches (5 cm).
- Grape leaves (or vine leaves) can be stuffed with either a vegetable or meat-based rice stuffing. This recipe is the vegetarian version, which is light and fresh, more like a salad than anything else. The version with meat is typically served hot as a main course; this vegetarian variation is usually served at room temperature, as part of a maza platter. (Note: When the stuffed grape leaves are cooked, a heavy, ﬂat, disk-shaped object must be placed into the pot to weigh the leaves down and keep them submerged beneath the liquid. In Arabic, this tool is called a Teteelet Fakhar, but any heat-safe lid or plate that ﬁts nicely into your pot will work.)
Recipe courtesy of Faith Gorsky, author of An Edible Mosaic (www.anedibilemosaic.com)