ورق دوالي (Stuffed Grape Leaves). Stuffed grape leaves are such a traditional middle eastern (or Greek) appetizer. Different regions will use different spices and herbs inside of theirs. And really, if you want to, you can experiment with herbs that aren't in my recipe.
Stuffed grape leaves are a bit tedious to roll, but SO worth the effort.
So the first thing you want to do when you make stuffed grape leaves is to soak your rice. Soaking the rice helps to soften it for easier cooking, and it also cleans it. Set the rice aside while you prepare your other ingredients.
In a frying pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of avocado or other cooking oil. Saute your diced onion until it is very soft. Next, add the ground beef. Some people use ground lamb in theirs. I used a very lean ground beef in my recipe. I like using it because there is no fat to drain off at the end.
Make sure to break apart your beef into as small of chunks as possible. Once the meat is totally brown, you can remove it from the heat.
Drain the water from your rice. You may have to rinse the rice a few times. Do this until the water runs clear.
Next, add the beef, herbs, and spices to the bowl of drained rice. I used my hands to mix it all together.
You will want to make sure the pieces of beef are as small as a grain of rice.
These are the grape leaves that I used. Most Arabic stores will sell these. And they typically contain 60-70 leaves inside.
The easiest thing to do is to separate all of your leaves so you can easily grab them while you roll. Most of the time, you will find leaves that are ripped or have holes in them. This is okay, you can use them later. Just set the imperfect ones aside.
Depending on how fast/slow you roll them, you may want to cover the leaves with a damp paper towel so they don't dry out.
Add 1-2 teaspoons of the rice mixture to each leaf. More towards the 2 teaspoons if it is large, and 1 if it is a small leaf. Fold each end in. Then roll the leaf.
Make sure to roll it tight enough so that it stays together, but not so tight that there is no room for the rice to expand.
Next, slice your potatoes into ~⅛" slices. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of your pot. Layer the potato slices on top. You can alternatively use tomatoes in place of potatoes. This layer just prevents the grape leaves from sticking to the bottom. Fill in any cracks with the imperfect grape leaves.
Lay your rolled grape leaves on top of the base. You will most likely have 2-3 layers of the stuffed grape leaves depending on the circumference of your pan. Add ¼ cup of olive oil after each layer.
Add 2-3 heavy plates on top of your grape leaves. The plate helps the grape leaves stay intact when the water is boiling.
Add 4-5 cups of boiling water to the pot. The water should cover the rolls by about 1 inch. Cover with a lid and cook on medium for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid, at the juice of 2 lemons. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 45 more minutes.
Enjoy warm or cold!
Looking for more Arabic recipes? Try these!
Looking to make some Arabic dessert? Try my Arabic Walnut Baklava!
If you make this recipe and love it, please be sure to tag your photo #thehintofrosemary and leave me a rating in the recipe card!
Stuffed Grape Leaves (ورق دوالي)
- 1 32 oz jar Grape leaves (~60-70 leaves)
- 1 ½ cup short grain rice soaked for 15 minutes
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or other cooking oil plus extra for the pot
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon all spice a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh dill leaves, finely chopped sub 2 teaspoon dried dill
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 yellow potatoes or tomatoes, sliced
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4-5 cups boiling water
- 2 lemons, juiced
- Start by soaking your rice in water in a medium sized bowl. This helps to soften and clean the grain.
- Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the tablespoon of cooking oil. Saute the diced onion. Once the onion has softened, add the ground beef. Cook and make sure to break apart as much as possible. You want the beef to be in very small pieces.
- Drain and wash your rice until the water runs clear.
- Add the cooked beef, spices & herbs, salt and pepper to the rice. Combine with your hands. If you notice large pieces of beef, break them apart. You want them to be as small as a grain of rice.
- Separate your grape leaves and place them on a plate covered with a moist paper towel to keep them from drying out. Any leaves that are ripped or not-intact, set aside to use later.
- Stuff each leaf with 1-2 teaspoon of the rice mixture, depending on how large the leaf is. Fold in both sides, then roll the leaf. Place the seam side down.
- Drizzle cooking oil on the bottom of a large pot. Add the sliced yellow potatoes along the bottom. Fill in any cracks with the discarded grape leaves.
- Layer your rolled grape leaves across the top. Drizzle each layer with ¼ cup of olive oil. Depending on the circumference of your pot, you will probably have 2-3 layers. Place 2-3 heavy heat proof plates on top of your leaves. This will prevent them from rolling around in the boiling water and coming unfolded.
- Fill the pot with 4-5 cups of boiling water, until it is only ~1 inch over the leaves. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Add the juice of 2 lemons to the pot. Reduce heat to low and cook an additional 45 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold.