Stuffed Grape Leaves "Erqu Mal'u"
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 16 oz. jar grape leaves (for the shell)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. tomato sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups basmati rice
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Rinse grape leaves in boiling water to remove brine and salt.
If the grape leaves are fresh, soften them by soaking in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.
Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed-pot put a layer of leaves and 3 tablespoons of olive oil to coat.
Place each leaf vein side up and put one heaping tablespoon of filling near the stem.
Fold the stem end over the filling then fold in both sides and roll tightly
Pack the leaves seam side down in the pot.
Mix the sauce ingredients together and dilute with hot water, enough to cover the rolled leaves.
Place a small plate on top of the leaves to prevent them from becoming unraveled.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil then immediately turn to med-low heat and cook for 1 hour.
Make sure the rice is thoroughly cooked. Add more water if needed.
Cool to touch in the pot, then flip out on to a large tray. Serve with garlic or yogurt and warm pita bread. Enjoy!
Add prunes and/or apricots to the pot for a tangy-sweet flavor or;
Add 1/4 cup ground soaked chickpeas or red lentils and use 1/4 less rice or:
Add 1/2 pound ground or finely chopped beef or lamb if you'd like to make with meat
Instead of grape leaves, you can use cabbage leaves for the shells. Bring a stockpot of water to boil. Prep your cabbage and cut around the core (at the bottom of the cabbage head) using a small paring knife. Dig as much of the core out as possible. Place the cabbage (core-end up) in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until leaves soften and start to break free. Using tongs, remove the cabbage from water and let it cool. Leaves should easily break apart. Then follow the rest of the method above.