Ghada's warak Einab

stuffed GRape Leaves

Ghada's kitchen walls are covered in hand-painted murals, made of swirls of colors and myriads of shapes. Her dishes are just as bright and colorful as her artwork! Biting into one of Ghada's grape leaves is like tasting the colors on her walls. They burst with life.

stuffed Grape leaves Recipe

step by step

1. stuffing

Fry half of the diced onions in a large frying pan until transparent, then add the ground beef, stirring occasionally until the beef is browned. Salt to taste. Add to a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, the other half of diced raw onions, tomatoes, mint, and 1 cup of tomato paste to the mixing bowl and mix with your hands until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Dress with the lemon juice and 4 Tbsp of EVOO. Salt to taste. Add the rice and massage into the rest of the ingredients.

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2. The Leaves

Add the potato rounds and onion rings to a large deep pot. Massage 1 cup of tomato paste, 4 Tbsp of EVOO and a pinch of salt into the potato and onions. Lay them flat against the bottom of the pot.

Rinse the grape leaves under cold water and then blanch them (up to 30 at a time) in the boiling water for 2 minutes. *If using fresh young grape leaves, remove the stems from the base, boil 6 cups of water, 1/4 cups of vinegar (any kind), and 3 Tbsp of sea salt in a pot and blanch the grape leaves in this solution for 3 minutes.

3. onion potato base

4. Rolling the leaves

Grab a leaf and place it smooth side down on a flat working surface. The leaf’s tips should be facing away from you and the place where the stem was attached (it’s base) should be closest to you. Add a teaspoon of stuffing right above the base of the leaf. Next, close the right, then left sides of the leaf over the stuffing like closing a 3 page pamphlet.  Slide your thumbs underneath the grape leaf where the stuffing sits and using your index and middle fingers from both hands (your hands should be formed like you are about to bite into a hamburger) start rolling the grape leaf upwards. Do this tightly but not so tightly that you rip the leaf. Think “thumbs roll over - middle and index fingers roll under. Keep rolling until the grape leaf has somersaulted into a compact little cylinder. Roll all leaves.

ingredients
  • 1 lb of ground beef

  • 2 large onions - 1 finely diced & 1 sliced into rings

  • 1.5 bunches of curly parsley - finely diced

  • 1 handful of mint leaves - finely diced

  • 2 large tomatoes - finely diced

  • 24 oz of tomato paste (3 cups)

  • 1 3/4 cups of white jasmine rice - washed until water runs clear

  • 2 large golden potatoes - sliced into 3/8-inch rounds

  • 3 heads of garlic with skin on

  • 3.5 cups of chicken stock

  • EVOO on hand

  • Sea Salt on hand

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Jar of Grape Leaves - You will be rolling 100 ct

vegetaRian version

Remove meat from recipe and instead of chicken broth, use hot water or vegetable stock.

5. cooking

Carefully lay the grape leaves in layers snugly on top of the onions and potatoes - this is important; the grape leaves need to be compressed side by side so that when they are in the boiling broth, they do not break open. For a visual, see the photo. Mix the chicken stock with the remaining cup of tomato paste and 2 Tbsp of EVOO. Gently pour this mixture over the grape leaves, cover with an oven-safe plate (this also ensures that the grape leaves do not come apart and bring to boil). Once the liquid starts to boil, turn down to low, cover with a lid and wait 25-30 minutes or until the rice in the leaves are soft. At this point the great majority of the liquid broth should have been absorbed by the rice and you should be able to flip the pot onto a large plate. Viola! Enjoy!