Veggie Stuffed Vine Leaves
Bushra, who arrived in Australia in 2016, passed on this recipe for yalanji to Beloved Syria. Bushra doesn’t follow a written recipe, and doesn’t use exact measurements. Instead she uses her culinary instincts, her five senses, and her love for food and sharing to bring her creations to life. The below measurements are an estimate of how she prepares this much loved Syrian dish.
2 cups of short grain rice
2 big tomatoes diced
Small handful of mint leaves
A bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped (including stalks)
1 large white onion diced
1 teaspoon of ground coffee
Small cup of pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon of red or green chilli
2 sweet capsicums diced
2 spoons of tomato paste or soy sauce
Small cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
6 or 7 cloves of garlic sliced (or all the cloves from one bulb)
2 large potatoes sliced thickly
Vine (grape) leaves which can be bought ready to use from the Middle Eastern section of Coles, or pre-prepared from a fresh food market. To prepare fresh leaves, separate them and add to boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and cool. They are also suitable for freezing.
Start the process the night before.
Wash the rice until the water runs clear. In a large bowl make the filling by combining the mint leaves, parsley, onions, capsicum, coffee, tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, chillies, tomato paste or soy sauce, washed rice, olive oil and salt to taste.
- Add small amount of filling to vine leaves, place on bottom third of leaf and fold in sides then roll.
- Cover bottom of large heavy pot with potato slices.
- Place vine leaf rolls in a layer over the potatoes followed by sliced garlic cloves.
- Place an ovenproof plate upside down over the rolls.
- Add water to cover.
- Fill a mixing bowl with water and place over the top of the upside down plate to create a tight compact environment for the vine leaves and rice to cook.
- Cook for one hour on a low heat. (Before you turn off the heat, check that the yalanji are cooked.)
- Serve hot or cold. If the yalanji are a main dish, you may like a side dish of yoghurt with them.
By Kirsten Bardwell
Note: Since Bushra cooked yalanji for Beloved Syria, she has begun to video some of her recipes. Go to this link for Bushra’s