Monday, February 14, 2011

Stuffed Grape Leaves!

Grape leaves. My absolute favorite food. I could eat them more or less everyday.  See they are not easy or fun to make, but the results are amazing. Just looking at the perfectly wrapped leaves...Or maybe it is just my OCDness. Anyways, for the longest time my mom made the stuffing, I stuffed, and she cooked.  I always wanted to try it on my own, because I refuse to say I made anything unless I made it from start to finish.
I got my chance to do so this past weekend. So I decided to finally give it a try.
They turned out pretty good. I did not have the kind of rice my mom usually uses. She usually uses the medium rice (Egyptian rice), but I could only find Basmati.   The  only thing with that type of rice is that it does not puff up and become soft and mushy.  Some people like that, others dont. So it really depends on what you like. I like the mushy type, but my dad likes the "normal" kind and he loved the grape leaves!

Ok, here we go. :-)

  • 1.5 cans Grape Leaves
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼  tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil

Rice Mixture:
  • 4 cups Medium Rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil + extra on hand
  • 2 tsp Dried mint
  • 2 tsp. Dill weed

  1. Wash rice.
  2. Mix all ingredients of rice mixture in large bowl. If mixture is dry add more vegetable oil. Keep oil on hand throughout wrapping.  Use hands to mix!
  3. Wash grape leaves in water.
  4. Cut stem off grape leaves.
  5. Place grape leaves rough side up.
  6. Add one tbsp. of mixture to the base of the leaf.
  7. Wrap leaves as depicted in the pictures below.
  8. Slice tomato.  You can also put potatoes, chicken, or meat.
  9. Line the bottom of a pressure cooker with slices of tomato.
  10. Line grape leaves in pressure cooker.
  11. Place metal plate (comes with pressure cooker) on top of grape leaves
  12. In small mix tomato paste, water, salt, and olive oil.
  13. Pour this mixture over grape leaves.
  14. Place a glass bowl (that can withstand heat) on top of metal plate. (This is put pressure on grape leaves, or your wrapping will come loose). Add some water to bowl.
  15. Cover. Place on high heat.
  16. When the top whistles, leave the cooker on high for two minutes.  Then lower to medium for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to medium low for forty minutes.
  17. Take off heat. Let cool.
  18. Remove glass bowl (try to not spill any of the water), and metal plate. Flip pot over on big plate.
  19. Eat and enjoy! Saha wa hana!

How to wrap grape leaves!
Place leaves "rough" side up.

Add around 1 tbsp. rice mixture.

Bring up the bottom pieces of the grape leaf. Tuck in mixture.

Wrap in the sides.

Start rolling!

Keep rolling.

So some bumps you might hit are that the leaf might be really big, or it might have holes in it. That is very easy to fix.  
-What is too big? You just have to learn from experience. If you look at the leaf above. That is a perfect size.  If it is too big just cut it right along the middle. If you follow the stem it is very easy.
-if there are holes, what I usually do is  save one leaf that has many holes in it. Anytime I get one leaf with a whole I just tear a piece of the really bad leaf and cover up the hole.

Hope this helps. :-)


  1. what brand of grape leaves do you use?

  2. Orlando Brand. I like this one the best. I have used others, but I just dont like the feel of the grape leaves and they tend to be too big.