Yalanji - Stuffed Grape Leaves
This is an easy recipe for stuffed grape leaves. It is time consuming which is the case of most dishes cooked in the Arabic kitchen. I usually stuff about a dozen small zucchinis and another dozen of baby eggplants and add them to the same pot with the grape leaves.
You need to hollow the zucchinis and the eggplants with this special tool that takes out the inside to make space for the stuffing.
When stuffing the zucchinis and the eggplants make sure that you only stuff them half way with the rice mix, because when rice is cooked, it expands 3 times its size before cooking, otherwise you will end up with a meal full of rice that expanded beyond its space!
It takes about a pound (half a kilogram) of grape leaves to have a decent size pot that would feed a family of four to six people. You may stuff tomatoes , onions or bell pepper also and add to the pot.
This meal is vegetarian, cooked with olive oil and lemon juice only. No need to add water to it.
You may Google this recipe, you will find many variations of it depending on who posted it and where they are in the Mediterranean. Some variation of the same recipe are stuffing the grape leaves with beef or lamb and rice mix, then you would use only cooking oil instead of olive oil. It seems like a complicated recipe but it is not really, it just takes a long time to prepare.