Stuffed Grape Leaves with Rice (Sarma)

For 7-8 people:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups rice 
  • 4 cups water 
  • A jar of grape leaves
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp chili
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp spearmint
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 lemons: two juiced and two chopped

Filling

Heat oil in a pot and add your onion and salt. Sauté until caramelized. Add your paprika, chili, and allspice. Mix together and let sauté for a few minutes, then add your tomatoes. When your tomatoes cook down, add two cups of rice and two cups of water; this will cook the rice halfway before we start rolling. 

When the rice has absorbed the water, let it cool and add your spearmint and olive oil. Now we’re ready to roll!

Rolling

Take your leaves out of the jar and rinse them in cold water. 

Some leaves in the jar will be torn or brittle or otherwise unsuitable for rolling. Set them aside; we’ll need those later. 

Choose whole leaves for rolling. Veins up, put a spoonful of filling at the base of the leaf, pressing the filling into a firm cylindrical shape. Fold the sides of the leaf in, keeping the shape firm, and then roll it up. 

Cover the bottom of your pot in some of those torn leaves. Arrange your rolled sarma across the bottom, then cover them with another layer of torn leaves. Repeat until you’ve got all your sarma stacked in the pot. Add two cups of water, the juice of two lemons, arrange the sliced lemons on top, and cover with the rest of your torn leaves. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes. 

Serve hot or cold; they’re delicious either way!

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