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LEBANESE VEGETARIAN STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES ( WARAK ENAB)
1 Jar 450g of grape leaves in brine or approx 60 fresh leaves
2 medium sized potatoes
2 large bunches of parsley
8 medium sized tomatoes
2-3 spring onions
1/3 of a medium onion or 1 shallot
small handful of mint leaves
1 1/2 cups of short grain rice
2 lemons juiced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp 7 spice
1/2 cup of regular olive oil
1 cup of water
If you are using fresh leaves, blanch them in hot water for five minutes and drain. If you are using grape leaves from the jar, rinse them in cold water and drain
Finely chop the parsley, tomatoes, mint and onions. Add to a bowl
Add the rice, salt, 7 spice, tomato paste, olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon to the bowl and stir well
Peel the potatoes and slice approximately 1 cm thick and arrange them at the bottom of the pot
Prepare your work area with one tray to roll the grape leaves beside the mixture and cooking pot
Lay out one grape leaf on the tray and remove any stems
Add 1 tablespoon of mixture in the middle of the grape leaf and tuck in the sides. Roll up firmly and gently into a cigar shape. Adjust the mixture amount depending on the size of the leaf
Stack the grape leaves into layers. If you have too much liquid in the mixture drain some onto the stacked leaves using a fine sieve
Leave around 5cm space at the top of the pot as the grape leaves will expand when cooked
When you finish rolling the grape leaves, add half a tablespoon each of salt and 7 spice to a 1 cup of water and the juice of half a lemon. Taste the brine as this will determine the overall acidity of your dish
Press down the grape leaves with a sturdy plate or lid one size smaller than your pot. Pour on the brine and turn the heat on to medium high
After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to low and remove the plate/lid. Taste the brine that has come to the surface and adjust the salt/lemon levels as necessary. Cook for another hour on the lowest heat setting.
Taste one grape leaf before you turn the heat off to make sure the leaves are well done
Turn the dish over onto a large platter for spectacle. Serve hot or cold.
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