Recipe: Nof Atamna-Ismaeel's stuffed grape leaves in tamarind sauce


Serves 6 - 8


1 kg Round rice (short grain rice)

1 kg fresh vine leaves

1 tsp baharat

1 kg tomatoes, chopped (keep two whole tomatoes aside)

75g mint chopped

75g parsley chopped

2 onions chopped into small cubes

4 tbsp tomato paste

4 tbsp tamarind paste

Salt and ground black pepper

240ml olive oil

1 lemon, juice only

Yoghurt for serving


● Soak the rice in water for about 40 minutes at least, drain and place in a bowl.

● Fill a pot with water at a height of 25cm and bring to a boil. Place the vine leaves in the hot water for about a minute until they change colour from green to dark khaki, remove and set aside to cool.

● Add 3 tablespoons each of the tamarind paste and tomato puree, the chopped mint and parsley, chopped tomatoes and onions and season with salt, pepper and Baharat.

● Add about 60ml olive oil from the 240ml to the rice filling and stir well.

● Slice the reserved tomatoes into ½ mm slices and spread them in a layer over the base of a medium sized saucepan.

● Place one vine leaf (shiny side down) on a flat surface and add 1 tsp of the filling at the stem end. Do not overfill, as the rice will expand during cooking. Fold the lower section of the leaf up over the filling towards the middle; bring the two sides in towards the centre and roll them up tightly.

● Arrange the stuffed leaves standing up on the bottom of the pot in close layers. Try not to leave any gaps between them or they may crack open when cooking.

● Place a plate on the top to keep the leaves in place while cooking. Pour the oil olive and lemon juice on the leaves. Dissolve the remaining tamarind and tomato paste with a little water and add to the pot.

● Fill the pot with water to cover the leaves, put the lid on. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmer for about an hour and a half.

● At the end of the cooking time, all the liquids should have evaporated. If there is any extra water pour it away. Remove the plate and serve the hot or cold along with yogurt.

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