Stuffed Grape Leaves

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stuffed grape leaves

I learned this Stuffed Grape Leaves recipe from my Syrian-born grandmother. I usually make stuffed grape leaves for the Passover seder (rice is considered kosher for Passover among Sephardic Jews but you can also substitute quinoa).  

Editor's Note: Prepare ahead to soak the grape leaves overnight, and soak the rice an hour in advance of preparation.

  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of grape leaves
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 cup dried apricots

Rice Stuffing

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds or pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Tamarind Sauce

  • 1 cup tamarind extract
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 4 cups water

Preparation

1. Open a jar of grape leaves and place them in a big bowl. Cover with water and soak them overnight. Place the grape leaves in a colander, rinse with cold water, and squeeze well.  .

2.Prepare the Rice Stuffing: Soak rice in boiling water for an hour. Heat the olive oil and fry the onion until golden. Strain the rice and add onion, sunflower seeds, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

 3. To roll the leaves: Place the grape leaf, shining side up, on the working surface. Cut off the little stem. Place a small amount of the rice stuffing in the middle, right above the cut stem. Don’t put too much since the rice expands while cooked. Fold the left side in to the center. Follow with the right. Roll the leaf up, folding the sides as you roll.  

4. Line a large pot with slices of carrots, dry apricot, and prunes.

5. Arrange the grape leaves over the fruit very close to eachother. If there is more than one layer of grape leaves, add sliced carrots, dried apricot, and prunes between layers.

6. Prepare Tamarind Sauce: Combine tamarind extract, oil and water. Pour over the grape leaves to cover.

7. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat for an hour.

8. Preheat oven to 212°F. Cook the pot of grape leaves inside the oven 3-4 hours until they are soft. Serve hot.