” Vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs (dolmades in Greece), are a sign that one is eating the food of eastern Mediterranean. Tender leaves should be harvested before sun and wind had done their damage. In South Africa, my mother once fooled a guest at the table and told him they were caterpillars, the big fat ones that hide in the grape vine”. This is Cecile’s introduction of this traditional eastern Mediterranean dish. She has also created a vine leaves roulade for those of us who have no time to roll.
Recipe on page 49, Mezze to Milk Tart – From the Middle East to Africa in my vegetarian kitchen by Cecile Yazbek Wakefield Press 2011. You can purchase her book by emailing her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The filling can be used for vine, kale or spinach leaves.
If using brined vine leaves, soak in cold water for a few hours to reduce saltiness.
Recipe and photos by Cecile Yazbek
250 g vine leaves, blanched in hot water for a minute or two before rolling.
1 cup basmati rice, washed
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sumac
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Mix all ingredients for filling. Spread leaves, underside up, and place a small amount of filling in the centre, at the stalk end. Begin rolling, folding the edges closed. Place a few leaves in the bottom of the saucepan and pack the rolled leaves closely together. Cover with few more leaves and a little oil. Put a plate on top and add enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Allow to stand and cool. Unpack into a serving bowl, adding more lemon and oil if desired.