Palestinian Stuffed Grape Leaves

Introduction

Stuffed grape leaves, known as “warak enab” in Arabic, are a beloved dish in Palestinian cuisine, cherished for their delicate flavor and satisfying texture. This traditional recipe features tender grape leaves filled with a fragrant mixture of rice, herbs, and spices, making it a perfect appetizer or main course for special occasions. Follow these simple steps to recreate this timeless Palestinian favorite in your own kitchen.

palestinian stuffed grape leaves

Ingredients

For the stuffing:

  • 1 cup short-grain rice, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For assembling:

  • 1 jar of grape leaves in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced (for layering in the pot)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the stuffing: In a mixing bowl, combine the rinsed rice, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley, chopped mint, olive oil, lemon juice, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine all the ingredients evenly.
  2. Prepare the grape leaves: Rinse the grape leaves under cold water to remove excess salt and brine. Carefully separate the leaves and trim any tough stems. Place the leaves in a colander to drain excess water.
  3. Assemble the stuffed grape leaves: Lay a grape leaf flat on a clean surface, vein-side up. Place a small spoonful of the rice mixture (about 1 tablespoon) near the stem end of the leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the filling, then fold in the sides, and roll tightly into a cigar shape. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and stuffing mixture.
  4. Line the bottom of a large pot with lemon slices. Arrange the stuffed grape leaves in layers in the pot, placing them snugly against each other to prevent them from unraveling during cooking.
  5. Once all the grape leaves are arranged in the pot, drizzle them generously with extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Add enough water to the pot to cover the grape leaves completely. Place a heatproof plate upside down on top of the grape leaves to keep them submerged during cooking.
  7. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 45-50 minutes, or until the rice is tender and cooked through.
  8. Once cooked, remove the pot from the heat and carefully remove the plate from the top of the grape leaves.
  9. Allow the stuffed grape leaves to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with lemon slices and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
  10. Enjoy these classic Palestinian stuffed grape leaves as a flavorful appetizer or main course, and savor the authentic taste of Palestinian cuisine.

This recipe for Palestinian stuffed grape leaves will surely become a favorite in your culinary repertoire, capturing the essence of traditional Palestinian flavors and culinary heritage.

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