Guest recipe feature by Siham Chamoun of Sahtein Lebanese Feasts
To this day the vineyards in the village I was born in continue to thrive. They supply the locals with all the fresh vine leaves they need during the summer and enough to preserve for the winter months that follow.Siham Chamoun, Sahtein Lebanese Feasts
I have vivid memories of the times my mother would send my brother and I out to the vineyards to collect fresh vine leaves when they were at their peak during the summer season. The wild vines that bore no fruit were best for picking. We knew Warak Enab was on the menu for dinner
on those occasions.
One of the first things the people of my village do when moving houses, is to plant a grape vine. I still hear stories of those of us here in Sydney moving house because there was a great big vine growing in the backyard.
When my family arrived in Australia, we couldn’t bring very much with us. Aside from the basics, we smuggled in a vine clipping from our home. The first thing we did, almost straight after we found a place to live, was plant that golden clipping deep into the ground.
I take pride in my backyard grape vine and will endeavour to pass this legacy and this recipe on to all those who wish to carry it forward.
- 1 cup medium grain rice, washed and drained 200g
- 1 small bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped 30g
- 1 small onion, finely diced 50g
- 2 small ripe tomatoes, finely diced 150g
- 30 ml olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mixed spices 2g
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt 4g
- 3/4 teaspoon citric acid or juice of 1 lemon 4g
- 100 g fresh or preserved vine leaves
- 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced 200g
- Place washed rice, chopped parsley, diced onions, diced tomatoes, olive oil, spices, chilli powder, salt, citric acid or lemon juice in a bowl and mix well
- Place vine leaf on a flat surface with the rough side up
- Place a teaspoon of the filling across the vine leaf towards the stem
- Fold sides of leaf over the filling then roll tightly to form finger shaped rolls
- Scatter sliced tomatoes around the bottom of a 15 cm to 20cm cooking pot
- Stack the rolled vine leaves tightly around the pot one row at a time
- Drizzle the leftover oil and lemon juice, from the filling, over the stacked vine leaves
- Cover the rolled vines leaves with an inverted glass plate to prevent them moving around in the pot and add enough water to cover the plate
- Bring to boil and cook on low heat for 1 ½ hours
- Serve hot or cold with salad or yogurt
If using preserved vine leaves, rinse them a few times before rolling to get rid of the excess salt then discard the stalks If using frozen vine leaves take them out of the freezer to thaw about half an hour before you start rolling them
If using fresh vine leaves place them in hot water for a couple of minutes before use to make them soft and easy to roll