An Easter Feast fit for Everyone!

Updated: Apr 18, 2020


Rolled grape leaves

Every holiday, I usually make 2 kinds of grape leaves: Warak enab Syamy and Warak enab Mishwy. Syamy is vegetarian mishwy is meat. This recipe is for Syamy. It is both vegetarian and vegan so if you are adventurous and love to cook, give this recipe a try!


What you'll need:


- 1 large jar of grape leaves

- 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley

- 2 plump, ripe tomatoes

- 1 bunch green onion

- 2 small cans of chickpeas

- 2 cups of white, basmanti rice

- 1 can of tomato sauce

- olive oil

- 4-6 tbs freshly ground allspice (to taste)

- Salt

- Pomegranate Molasses

- 1 lemon


Preparing to make the stuffing

The first thing you want to do is get a big bowl that you can put all these lovely veggies in once they are prepped. Next, put 2 cups of rice in a small, separate, bowl. Take a tea kettle and boil water. Pour the water over the rice to cover and let sit while you prep the rest of the veggies. You want to soften the rice only not cook it all the way through. These are the egg-wash of grape leaves. The rice being cooked through tells you when the grape leaves are done! Next, prep your veggies.


I always start with the tomatoes which I core and dice leaving the seeds and juice in the tomatoes. Once diced, add them to the bowl. Next, clean off the green onions and parsley. Chop the green onions all the way up to the white bulb at the end and add to the bowl. Take the parsley and remove all the stems. Chop finely and add to the bowl.


The next bit is an adaptation, my grandmother did not always do this. Take the chickpeas and drain (do not rinse off). In batches, roughly chop the chickpeas and add to the bowl. This is, by far, my least favorite bit because they are slippery and you won't get a perfect chop on them ever which is why rough is totally fine.



Roughly Chopped Chickpeas

When your're done, add these to the bowl. The bowl will look like a lovely series of layered veggies.



Prepped veggies in a bowl

Mix your veggies thoroughly, then add your Pomegranate Molasses (also known as Dibs). I add about 1/2 a bottle to my grape leaves because the flavor cooks off significantly and I want that savory flavor to stay in the leaves themselves. Grind up your allspice beans, add 2tbs at a time to your bowl and mix thoroughly. Again, I like a lot of allspice, salt and Dibs in my stuffing but you should measure to taste. If you feel like you need more, then add more! There's nothing wrong with having extra spice to your Syamy. At this point you also want to drizzle 1tbs of olive oil into the mix as well to give it some richness.


Once you've gotten the flavor right where you want it, drain and add the rice. Again, mix thoroughly and taste the mix once more. The rice should still be hard, but you will want to add more salt, allspice and Dibs because the rice does water the flavor down a bit. Again, mix thoroughly and set aside in the fridge for 1 hour.



Finished stuffing


Next comes the tough part...rolling. Take the grape leaves out of the jar gently and place in a colander in the sink that has a small stream of ice cold water running over it. Make sure to unfold the grape leaves and check the base for stems. There are some jars that come without stems and some that have stems attached. You want to remove any stems if they are still attached, so you may have to go through, leaf by leaf, and snip them off with scissors taking care not to rip the leaves themselves.



Grape leaves under cold water

Once you've removed all of the stems, you can turn off the water and then place the colander in a bowl so that it captures any additional water that is still draining. Next, set up your rolling station.


For this you will need:


- Large cutting board (preferably with ridges to catch any juice that leaks out

- 1 large dutch oven or pasta pot with a lid

- 2 small appetizer plates

- 1 hand towel

- 1 small spoon



Rolling station setup

Next you want to lay the leaves out with the vein side up. This is extremely important because rolling the leaves you want to have the veins on the inside with the stuffing not on the outside as it becomes tougher to eat. You can lay the leaves out 1 at a time, or as you become more advanced, you can lay out a few at a time to roll. *Note- any ripped leaves, set aside. Do Not Throw Out*



Grapes leaves vein side up

Next, take your spoon and spoon a small amount in the center of each leaf



Add stuffing to the leaves

I always start on my right. Fold the right side so the edge lines up with the center of the leaf, do the same with the left side:



Rolling step 1

Take the butt-end (the end closest to you) and fold up to the middle as well.



Fold the base up

Next take the new end and roll as tightly as you can all the way up. Don't worry if the leaf rips a bit, that's fine. Just make sure you keep them as tight as possible until it looks like this:



Rolled grape leaf

The tighter you roll, the more the juice will leak out, again, that's totally ok! Continue the process, making sure to remember to set aside the ripped leaves, until you are either finished with your stuffing or you run out of leaves. Place all rolled grape leaves in a circle in your pot:



Place rolled leaves in a circle
Layer them all the way until you are done


If you have any leftover stuffing, spread that evenly on top of your grape leaves:



Spread remaining stuffing on top


Remember those ripped leaves? Flatten them out and place on top of the rolled leaves covered in stuffing. This seals in the flavor and helps the stuffed grape leaves cook:



Place ripped leaves over top

Next, take the lemon and cut in half. Squeeze the juice over this whole mixture. Then take your 2 appetizer plates and place them on top of this. The reason for this is, the plates weigh down the grape leaves which also allows for better, more accurate cooking.



Add small plates

Finally, cover the entire mixture in water until there's about 1 inch over the grape leaves and covering the plates mostly:



Cover the whole thing in water

Next place the pot on the stove-top and cover with the lid leaving it slightly ajar. Turn the burner on high. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and open the lid slightly more. Cook for approximately 15min until the rice in the leaves is completely cooked through. remove the leaves from the pot, discarding the excess liquid and serve at room temperature!



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