Stuffed Grape Leaves - محشي ورق عنب

Friday, February 12, 2016

Arab cuisine is deeply rooted into our daily life, and one of the staples is stuffed grape leaves. Its a time consuming finger food meal, but you forget about all the prep when you are actually eating them.

Stuffed Grape Leaves / محشي ورق عنب |
Especially for the people who didn't do the rolling and only do the eating; they should be singing your praise. The effort you put into your stuffed grape leaves shows, I promise you.

There are plenty of ways to make stuffed grape leaves. At times people don’t use rice and substitute with burgle. Some don’t even use meat and go vegetarian. Its all up to the taste pallet of the country and the peoples’ preference. There are different names for stuffed grape leaves too. Dolma. Dawalii. Stuffed grape leaves. Whatever floats your boat.

Stuffed Grape Leaves / محشي ورق عنب |
The stuffing is easy enough to make. Make sure all your ingredients are roughly the same size and adjust the oil and lemon to your liking. Then get ready to roll. At first some of your rolled leaves won’t look amazeballs, but you will get the hang of it. Unless you are my situ. My sister and I have a saying: "your dawali is TIGHT!" which is our highest compliment (plain text doest do it justice.). If there’s too much filling for your leaves, don’t overstuff them trying to finish it off. Pull out a spare tomato or zucchini and core it. Then fill that. I personally love stuffed zucchinis the best (but thats not what this post is about….but its basically the same recipe if you want to try it out).

On to the cooking process; depending on if you have a pressure cooker, the cook time can differ drastically. My situ use to stack her ‘dawalii’ into a normal pot and add water till it was the same level as the grape leaves. Then she would place an inverted lid on top to keep the grape leaves from unfurling. She would set the flame on low heat and cook for an hour or two, maybe even three when she only had the flame on a putter. The flavours infuse during those hours and her way always tastes delicious. Sometimes though, time is something we don’t have. 

Pressure cookers can get the job done so quickly and efficiently. They taste nearly the same as well. In the pressure cooker, the cooking process should take no more than 45 minutes, including the heating up. A rule of thumb in our house is, after the whistle starts to scream, time 15 minutes. Then usually everything will be done.

Stuffed Grape Leaves / محشي ورق عنب |
Ohhhh and before I forget, I need to tell you, you have to put a ‘buffer’ between the stuffed grape leaves and the bottom of the pot. This can be extra grape leaves, a rack of beef or lamb, or anything you don’t mind getting a little burnt. From its name, it keeps the dawalii safe from the direct heat.

Yup thats pretty much it. We would love to hear about your attempts at making stuffed grape leaves.

STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES - محشي ورق عنب |
Courtesy of Pinterest

Stuffed Grape Leaves - محشي ورق عنب

Note: When filling the grape leaves, don't over stuff them. Keep the portions small and the wrapping tight, or else the leaves will ‘explode’ while cooking.


  • 1/2 kg diced meat
  • 1 cup short grain rice soaked
  • 6 medium tomatoes-extra tomato for stuffing
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lemon
  • 500g grape leaves
  • 1 lt water
  • 1 kg rack of beef or enough extra grape leaves to cover the bottom of the pot
  • 1 1/2 cup oil


  1. Chop up all stuffing ingredients until roughly the same size. Then add oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  2. Roll the stuffing into grape leaves (and tomatoes if needed).
  3. Mix together the water, salt, pepper and lemon.
  4. Add beef to bottom of pot (or grapes leaves) and season with oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Stack the stuffed grape leaves onto the beef and add liquid mixture.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes after whistling of a pressure cooker, or up to 3 hours on low heat of a normal pot.

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  1. are you sure you use 1 1/2CUPS of oil??? If so,, may I ask why?

    1. So the leaves will be oily and smooth, it's also a pretty big batch. Olive oil isn't the cheapest but definitely worth it for the taste.

  2. Thanks a lot for posting this post, Your post has always been an informative source for me.
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  3. Awesome Cooking Tips, you are very enjoying this post. Please keep the posting and provide more tips. Jean Alberti


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