Updated: Jan 23
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!
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, prep your veggies. Once done, you can get your rice ready. The rice acts like an egg wash for this dish and lets you know when it's done!
One adaptation that comes from my mom is to chop the chickpeas. My grandmother did not do this, but it serves to make rolling the grape leaves far easier and each bite gets a bit instead of sporadic bites of chickpeas. This step doesn't need to have precise cuts. It can be as rough or as thorough as you'd like.
When your're done, add these to the bowl. The bowl will look like a lovely series of layered veggies.
Mix your veggies thoroughly, then add your Pomegranate Molasses (also known as Dibs). Then add your spices. If you are fresh grinding them, which I highly recommend especially the allspice, then make sure you are tasting as you add. All spices should be added to your 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.
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.
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.
Next you want to lay the leaves out with the vein side up. *Note- any ripped leaves, set aside. Do Not Throw Out*
Next, take your spoon and spoon a small amount in the center of each leaf
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:
Take the butt-end (the end closest to you) and fold up to the middle as well.
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:
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:
If you have any leftover stuffing, spread that evenly on top of your grape leaves:
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:
Next, squeeze lemon 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.
Finally, cover the entire mixture in water until there's about 1 inch over the grape leaves and covering the plates mostly:
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!
If you'd like the full recipe, feel free to check out the shop where this recipe is available for purchase.