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| by Amira Azzouz

Vine Leaves Recipe

Everyone knows I'm not that talented in the kitchen, but when it comes to the food I personally love, I tend to try harder to make it perfect. Now this recipe of vine leaves is very special as I got it from my grandmother, who happens to cook the most delicious dishes I've ever tasted.

What you will need:

1/2 kg Vine Leaves

2 large cups of Rice

1 1/2 Onions

2 cloves of Garlic

1/4 tea spoon of Pepper

2-3 table spoons Tomato Paste

1/2 tea spoon Cumin

1/2 tea spoon dried crushed Mint

1/2 Lemon

Parsley 

Dill ("Shabat")

Ghee

Salt

Steps

Preparing the vine leaves:

1. First off make sure you bought the thin and smoother type, as it'll get you better results.

2. Start off by washing the vine leaves, add them into a pot with water and boil once, then change the water and boil again. Your sign would be that the vine leaves have now a lighter color (yellowish) and are of course super clean.

3. Now it's time to cut off the stem from the vine leaves.

Preparing the rice:

1. Make sure you wash the rice beforehand.

2. Chop the 2 cloves of garlic into small bits in addition to chopping half of an onion. You'll also need to chop a hand full of dill and parsley and chop them into smaller bits.

3. Take 2-3 table spoons of tomato paste and mix them with half a cup of water and stir.

4. Add one spoon of ghee into the pot and turn on medium heat, then add the garlic and onions you just chopped. Once it turns yellowish, make sure to add the tomato paste with water mixture you previously prepared.

5. Following that, you'll need to add 1/4 tea spoon of pepper, 1 full tea spoon of salt and 1 tea spoon of cumin. 

6. Add on top of that mix the rice and make sure you stir properly for 30 seconds.

7. Add the chopped parsley, dill and 1/2 a tea spoon of dried and crushed mint, then stir again.

8. You'll need to leave the rice on a relatively medium flame for only 2-3 minutes maximum, until you feel that the rice is turning into reddish because of the mixture.

Rolling the vine leaves:

1. You know how the vine leaves has two corners, the upper and bottom ones? Well, you'll need to do the following, have the corner with the bigger width pointing to you, which is usually the bottom of the vine leave.

2. Start by adding a small amount of the rice mixture in the middle of the vine leave, but more towards the bigger corner. I recommend you add a very small amount for the first one just to give it a try.

3. After adding the rice, fold the left side and then the right side of the vine leave, before you start rolling it.

4. Next you'll start rolling the vine leave from the bottom (the wider corner on your side) and towards the thinner corner on your other side. It might not be easy from the first time, but once you get a hold of it, it's a piece of cake.

5. Try to roll the vine leave without leaving any space so they hold up better together.

Almost there:

1. Once you're done with all the rolling, there's not much left I promise. Chop off one onion into rings and add it into a big pot. You can also add some of the parsley and dill in that pot.

2. Start by adding the vine leaves you rolled to the pot.

3. You'll need to prepare a nice light soup with some extra salt to it (it's okay if it's saltier than usual) and squeeze 1/2 a lemon on it. Leave it to get warm for a couple of minutes.

4. Once done with that, turn on medium heat and add on top of the vine leaves the soup you just prepared. It'll need to reach a bit below the surface of the vine leaves. Put the cover of the pot and wait for a few minutes.

5. Keep checking until you notice that the soup has almost been absorbed, then lower the flame below the pan, add a metal separator and leave it to cook for approximately 20-25 minutes. You'll need to taste one of the vine leaves afterwards to check if it was fully cooked.

That's it and bon apetit!







Tags: Arab kitchen  Kitchen  Vine leaves  Ramadan  Ramadan 2013  Appetizers  Arabic cuisine  Arabic recipes  Cooking  Ramadan recipes