I started a series “Arabic cuisine” featuring my traditional food. Today the dish is “Stuffed Grape leaves ” (war’a dawali )
After more than 15 recipes now in Arabic cuisine series, I noticed that almost every recipe post I mentioned my mom in it! This makes me realize how much I miss mom’s presence in my life, an actual presence, not a virtual one!
Asking mom for recipes means more than an instant help, and solving a problem, its the trust between mother, and daughter. It’s the typical female role, to look for the best to feed her family, and to gives them her best. Sometimes it’s very demanding, but I’m happy to serve my little family!
My mom usually, makes stuffed leaves with stuffed zucchini, actually more like a summer squash. So the grapes leaves makes a great side. Lots of families back home, make grape leaves to be a main course, lots and lots of them. While they are taste really good, its a lot of work!
Now, let me explain how to stuff the grape leaves, this the traditional way of rolling or folding the grapes leaves. Recently, I stumbled upon a new way, which is to fold them in a square shape, but this one is easier to memorize.
Grape leaves made its presence in almost every women gathering, since its more like finger food, or a snack. It’s fulfilling, but not to the extent that you feel stuffed yourself! And there is some sort of undeclared competition, where the one who got the thinner, and smaller ones is the real winner, and the one with big ones is the lazy one! Unfair right? Do you agree?
I don’t! But in this case, I do agree. Big leaves don’t taste good as the small, thin ones, and they hard to chew. Therefore, there is a reason after all, why the one with the small one is going to win!
They are nutritious, and healthy.
- They have good amounts of vitamins like A, C and folate, also minerals like manganese, calcium and iron.
- They have anti inflammatory proprieties, and they have good amounts of antioxidants, like phenols and falvanoids.
- Unfortunately, the leaves that are picked in September after the season, are the highest in antioxidants content, because at that stage they become hard to chew and has bitter taste.
The research of grape leaves is still in the early stages, since most of the studies are focused on the grapes, and the wine.
It’s a bit hard to find fresh leaves here in the states, though many states have them. if you live in a moderate climate, you can start a vineyard yourself! That’s what people do back home! Even my family has a small one! Having a vineyard makes a great shade, some privacy, delicious grapes, and fresh grape leaves!
Just you know this is the traditional stuffing, and the one my mom use. There are many versions, and most of them are completely vegan!
Now let’s get to the recipe!
- Grape leaves 25 ones (fresh, frozen, or preserved)
- 2 Tb of Olive oil
- 100 g of raw minced beef or lamb.
- ½ cup uncooked white rice (short grain)
- Spices like salt, black pepper, cinnamon, or 7 spices)
- First if you are using preserved leaves, wash them very well multiple times, so they become odorless, and having less sodium content.
- Put the leave on a plate (or just on the counter).
- Put the filling in the center, grab the lower two part of the leave, then grab the sides, and then roll it tightly enough to make it hold in shape.
- Put the leaves in a pot with a tight lid, don't leave any space.
- Add water just enough to cover the leaves, and then put a plate over so the leaves stay pressed, and then cover the pot.
- leave it on medium heat for 30 minutes then, test the leaves, it may need more time and add water if needed.
- Serve them hot or cold.