Palestinian Stuffed Grape Leaves – Warak Dawali [GF; VO]

A delicious stuffing wrapped with a zesty kick!

My eldest daughter’s favorite meal since she was 5 years old is stuffed grape leaves, both vegetarian and with meat. Every time I make this meal, I am reminded by beautiful memories from my daughter’s childhood. When my eldest daughter was very young, my parents, my husband, my daughter, and I used to drive to Lake Elsinore, which is on the outskirts of San Diego in Southern California, every year to pick fresh grape leaves off the vines. First, we would pick them and then organize them in piles according to their size. When we would come home, I would divide the piles into meals and save each pile in Ziploc bags to store in the freezer for the rest of the year. My family would look forward to this trip every year. We stopped going to Lake Elsinore when new Middle Eastern produce stores opened up near us and started selling grape leaves in jars. Sometimes, these stores do bring in shipments of fresh grape leaves. I get excited and buy a large amount to organize and store them in the freezer like old times. I still miss the days when we would travel to the lake to pick the leaves ourselves. This year, I finally planted grape leaves vines in a pot on my patio. It has been wonderful to watch it grow. My family and I are hoping to eat from it next year. We’ll always have the memory of the lake and our yearly trips.

 

Warak Dawali is one of those meals which takes the true meaning of time, love, and care.

I hope these pictures will better explain the detailed process of making Stuffed Grape Leaves.

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Side by side views of the meat & vegetarian stuffing. YUM!

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The beautiful process of stuffing grape leaves.

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Stuffed nice and tight!

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Extra stuffing can be used to stuff tomatoes.

Top with sliced tomatoes only for the meat & rice stuffed grape leaves.

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Add the salt and lemon juice mixed with hot water.

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Time for the olive oil! A must for a Palestinian meal!

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Placing a plate on top of the grape leaves in the pot helps keep the leaves in place.

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Time to eat! IMG_8355-SC

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You can find my Persian Cucumber & Yogurt Salad recipe here!
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 ENJOY! SAHTEIN!

Palestinian Stuffed Grape Leaves – Warak Dawali
A delicious stuffing wrapped with a zesty kick!
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Grape leaves ingredients
  1. 1 jar of grapes leaves (I prefer fresh grape leaves)
  2. Half pot of water
  3. ½ tsp of salt
Meat and rice stuffing ingredients
  1. 1 lb of minced beef meat washed with cold water and drained.
  2. 1 ½ cup of short grain rice (Each jar of grape leaves needs 1 ½ cup of short grain rice)
  3. 2 tsp salt
  4. 1 tsp black peeper
  5. 1 tsp 7 spices
  6. 1 tsp safflower
  7. 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  8. 4 tsp olive oil
  9. 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  10. 2 medium-sized potatoes
  11. ½ cup lemon juice
  12. 1 ½ cup boiling water
Vegetarian stuffing ingredients
  1. 1 ½ cup of short grain rice (Each jar of grape leaves needs 1 ½ cup of short grain rice)
  2. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 1 onion
  4. 1 bunch of parsley
  5. 7 cloves of garlic
  6. ¼ cup of dried mint
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp black peeper
  9. 1 tsp 7 spices
  10. 1 tsp safflower
  11. 1tbsp cumin
  12. 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  13. 4 tsp olive oil
  14. 2 medium-sized potatoes
  15. ½ cup lemon juice
  16. 1 ½ cup boiling water
Preparing the grape leaves
  1. Boil the water and add salt to the pot.
  2. Turn off the stove and put the grape leaves in the pot for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the hot water, run cold water over the grape leaves, and drain again.
  4. Place the pot of grape leaves on the side until it is cool.
Preparing the meat and rice stuffing
  1. Soak rice in warm water with ¼ tsp salt for 15 minutes.
  2. Wash rice 3 to 4 times with cold water and then drain water.
  3. In a bowl, add the meat, 1tsp salt, black pepper, safflower, 7 spices, and vegetable oil to the rice and mix everything together.
Preparing the vegetarian and rice stuffing
  1. Soak rice in warm water with ¼ tsp salt for 15 minutes.
  2. Wash rice 3 to 4 times with cold water and then drain water.
  3. In a bowl, add finely chopped tomatoes, finely chopped onion, finely chopped garlic, finely chopped parsley, dry mint, salt, black pepper, safflower, 7 spices, cumin, and vegetable oil to the rice and mix everything together.
Preparing the pot
  1. Peel the potatoes (or you can use tomatoes) and cut them in circles.
  2. Put the potatoes (or tomatoes) on the bottom of a medium pot.*
Grape leaves stuffing method
  1. Place 1 grape leaf flat on a plate and put 1tsp of stuffing in the center.**
  2. Fold the end sides, and then roll inward from top to bottom.
  3. Place it over the potatoes inside the pot.
  4. Keep doing this until you finish all the leaves.
Preparing the pot of grape leaves for cooking
  1. Cut 2 tomatoes in circle shaped slices and place over grape leaves in the pot.***
  2. If you have extra stuffing, you can stuff a few tomatoes and add them to the pot.
  3. Sprinkle 1tsp salt into the pot.
  4. Pour 4 tsp olive oil over the grape leaves.
  5. Add lemon juice to a bowl filled with boiling water and mix.
  6. Add the bowl of boiling water mixed with lemon juice to the pot until grape leaves are covered.
  7. Place a plate into the pot to cover the grape leaves and keep them in place.
  8. Turn on stove on high heat under the pot.
  9. Lower the heat to low after the water over the grape leaves boils.
  10. Leave grape leaves on the stove for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours to cook (you can taste one to make sure it’s cooked).
Notes
  1. Leave the pot for a few minutes to cool and then serve and enjoy!
  2. You can add a side of Persian Cucumber & Yogurt Salad (you can find my recipe under “sides”).
  3. *You can also choose to add meat to the bottom of the pot of meat and rice stuffed grape leaves. I typically stuff eggplants and zucchini to add to the pot of grape leaves.
  4. *If you don't have potatoes, place grape leaves flat on the bottom of the pot. Then place pieces of tomato on top of grape leaves.
  5. **After becoming skilled at wrapping grape leaves, I prefer to use my hand.
  6. *** I only place tomatoes over the pot of meat stuffed grape leaves, not the vegetarian stuffed grape leaves because the vegetarian stuffing already contains tomatoes.
Tatreez: Stitching Cuisines http://stitchingcuisines.com/

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