A taste you will never forget.
Yaprak Sarma or stuffed vine leaves are delicious and a favourite dish throughout Turkey, if you have never tried them then you should definitely put them on your list of foods to try. The variety of food in Turkey is endless; Turks pride themselves on mouth-watering flavours, freshness, and a never-ending amount of dishes that are bought to the table.
The true origin of this dish is unknown however various countries have their take on this dish and in Turkey, Greece, Iran, Armenia, Lebanon, and the Middle East the fillings and presentation are different.
The first written mention of stuffed vine leaves was in 335 BC, Allegedly as Alexander marched into the city of Thebes there was a grand welcome from both his generals and soldiers, at the feast it is written that there was a multitude of platters of stuffed vine leaves.
The best edible grape leaf used in the making of Yaprak Sarma is the Sultana, also known as the Thompson seedless. A great source of Vitamin K, eating stuffed vine leaves promotes a healthy heart, helps with blood coagulation, and vitamin K also helps with the binding of calcium in the bones. They are also packed with strong antioxidant properties.
Why not have a go yourself.
Here is a simple recipe for Turkish Stuffed Vine Leaves (Yaprak Sarma), of course, you can buy them readymade but the taste and the smell of homemade stuffed vine leaves is worth the effort. You can buy the leaves themselves all ready to wrap in most supermarkets, you can also buy from the local markets these are homemade and delicious….or you could blanche your own.
1lb pickled grape leaves, pickled in brine then washed and drained
4 medium onions, diced
2 cups rice, washed under cold water and drained
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried mint flakes
1 teaspoon allspice
1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon salt
1⁄2 lemon, juice of
Cooking time: 2hrs 30mins Serves: 10 Makes Approx 40 stuffed vines leaves
Dice the onions and sauté till translucent with 1/4 cup of olive oil.
Add rice and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes until the rice is also translucent.
Add the spices (dried mint, cinnamon, lemon salt, allspice, black pepper, and sugar) and chopped parsley.
After another quick stir, add 1/2 cup of boiling water and simmer on low medium heat for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice mixture.
Take off the heat and let cool.
And now for the fun part, put a spoonful of the cooled mixture in the centre of the leaf, fold the sides inwards and then roll the leaf into a cylinder.
As the final step, spread a layer of vine leaves on the bottom of a large and heavy pot (to prevent the stuffed leaves that you will be eating from burning).
Lay all your stuffed vine leaves side by side and tuck very tightly.
Transfer the remaining 1/4 cups of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, and 2 cups of boiling water, cover with a plate upside down (so that they don’t move around in boiling water), and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the water is absorbed (45-60 minutes).
Transfer to your serving dish and let cool.
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