Sunday, 4 January 2009

ZEYTINYAGLI YAPRAK SARMASI ( stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice )

Vine leaves are used in many dishes in Turkey but most popular ones are filled with minced meat ( etli yaprak sarmasi) and vegetarian sarma which is  made with aromatic rice and olive oil ( zeytinyagli yaprak sarmasi). Stufffed vine leaves served  warm or cold.  I will be posting etli  yaprak sarma in coming weeks.

  • 1 jar of 400 g of preserved vine leaves in brine
  • 2 large onions, chopped finely
  • 1 cup long grain rice, washed
  • 1 bunch of dill, chopped
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbs currants, diced
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts or chopped mix nuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
To add to the pan just before cooking
  • juice of half a lemon
  • extra, olive oil for drizzling
  • 5-6 medium potatoes
  • hot water 

1) First wash vine leaves under cold running water, let in drain in colander. Layer the base of the pan with 2-3 vine leaves. ( This will prevent the stuffed vine leaves sticking to the pan)

2) Prepare the filling: Wash the rice and place in a bowl. Add diced onion, parsley, dill, currants, nuts, salt, cinnamon, black pepper and 3tbsp of olive oil to the rice. Mix well to coat the rice with herbs and spices. 

3) Lay one of the vine leaves on a flat  surface and spoon 1-2 tsp ( depending on the size of the leaf )of the rice mixture along the stalk end of the leaf and fold once. Then tuck in the sides of the leaf and roll it up tightly to make a cylindrical parcel.
Repeat this  with the reaming leaves and rice filling.
4) Arrange the stuffed vine leaves, seam side down in the prepared  pan, as you roll them. Pack them tightly together in circles. Making 2-3 layers, depending on your pan size.
5) Squeeze the lemon juice over the sarmas and drizzle over with olive oil. Add enough hot water to cover the stuffed vine leaves . Peel 5-6 medium potatoes and arrange them on top of the stuffed vine leaves. Cover the pan with the lid and bring it to boil. Then lower the heat and steam the sarmas gently  for 45-50 minutes. until the rice is cooked.  Let it stand for 20 - 30 minutes before serving

NOTE: Potatoes are used  as a weight to prevent sarmas from unravelling, also potatoes draw excess salt from the vine leaves. I use the cooked potatoes in soups or use it to make potato salad.

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