Thursday, April 24, 2014

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Lebanese vegetarian)

If you have been by the Middle East you surely know stuffed grape leaves! When these mezze/tapas (of fairly debatable origin... Turkish? Lebanese? Greek?) when displayed at a table cause everyone to reach out for them like covetable goods! ;) Maybe it is because it is slightly time-consuming to roll & let them cook.. that everybody goes so crazy/is impressed when you serve them Lol

Anyway, as a good geek that I am (seen that my Lebanese friends had not tried to make these before) I launched on a mission to get the authentic recipe with the collaboration of my favorite program: Excel.
Bottom of pan lining

(In short: Google authentic looking recipes > Apply Excel to work out the proportions :P > triple test cooking method and timing > Tasting > Blogging).

So after several times, and approval from the toughest Lebanese critics ;P here is the 'authentic' tasting recipe!
Lebanese Grape Leaves:Spices:
- 1 jar Grape Leaves- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups White Rice (Melrose)- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 cup Parsley (chopped)- 1 Tsp All Spice
- 1 cup Tomato (chopped)
- 1 cup Onion (finely chopped)Seasoning:
- 1 Tbsp Mint chopped- 1 cup Lemon juice (split in 1/2 and 1/2 cup)
- 6 Large carrots- 1 cup Olive Oil (split 1/2 and 1/2 cup)

Boil water, and introduce in a deep pan. Open grape leave jar, and separate the leaves, introduce into the water and let soak off for 10 minutes. Change the water, repeating the process 1 or 2 times. Then let drain.

Rice filling mix

In the meantime, peel & cut carrots in slices, and set to line the bottom of the pot.

In a large bowl wash the rice several times. Chop the tomato, onion, parsley & mint, and add to the rice. Add spiced, 1/2 cup of lemons juice and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Mix.

Take a grape leaf, placing the shiny part facing the tabletop. (Cut the stem if needed).

Step 1: Place 1 Tbsp of mix in the mid-section of the leaf
Step 2: fold the right and left sides over the mix

Step 1 - Place mix in center of leaf
Step 2 - Fold inwards the sides
Step 3: starting from the bottom, roll tightly all the way to the top.

Step 3 - Roll from bottom to top

Rolled & placed tightly in pan

Introduce in the pan aligning them tightly (so they will not move while cooking).  Add water and 1/2 cup left of lemon juice (it should just reach the rim of the leaves).

Once all done, place a plate (or 2) on top, and a heavy object (so that the grape leaves do not move).

Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let simmer for 2 hrs at low heat (2-3/6).

Plates & weight over arranged leaves
Halfway through, after 1 hr, add the additional 1/2 cup of olive oil. Cook until the 2hrs mark.

Remove from the heat, and let cool down.

Serve! The carrots are an edible plus! :)


This is provably the first recipe that I ever cooked on my own... or more precisely my best friend Gema and I cooked on our own when my parents were out of town Lol We must have been 13 or so, silly silly girls :P

While this is a different recipe, here is a super easy recipe for normal (or more runny/light pancakes):

Pancakes:Pancakes (light version):
- 1 cup Flour- 1 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 tbsp Sugar- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking powder- 3 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Milk- 1 1/4 cup Milk
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 Egg- 1 Egg

Place all ingredients in a bowl, and use a mixer to beat the mix until well blended.

Heat a pan at medium heat and place some vegetable oil (or butter), get a ladle and pour 1 ladle of mix into the pan, once the mix is not runny flip and ensure both sides are cooked.