Sarma The Aegean Style Stuffed Grape Leaves With Olive Oil
A classic recipe that the people of the Aegean region can’t resist.
Sarma, the Agean style stuffed grape leaves with olive oil is a classic recipe that the people of the Aegean region can’t resist. Stuffed grape leaves are a must for the Aegean. The same goes for Kusadasi, they love this recipe. See below how to make stuffed grape leaves with olive oil.
The Aegean region and especially Urla is famous for their vineyards. You can find grape leaves in vineyards, in a grape arbor or in gardens. Grape leaves can be used fresh from the vine in late spring and early summer, when tender leaves are plentiful, and they can be stored for use at other times. The leaves can be stuffed with minced meat and/or rice or bulgur. However, olive oil and lemon juice are indispensable.
Aegean Style Stuffed Grape Leaves With Olive Oil
To make Aegean style stuffed grape leaves you of course need grape leaves. The leaves should be light green, and tender (supple). The best are those below the new growth at the top of the plant and above those close to the grapes. An easy rule of thumb is to count down three leaves from the new growth at the end of the vine, and pick the next 2 to 3 leaves, then move on to the next stem. The leaves should be medium to large, with no damage, and at least the size of the palm of your hand, large enough to wrap around a filling.
Sarma The Aegean Style Stuffed Grape Leaves With Olive Oil Ingredients
- Half a kg of grape leaves
- 2 glasses of rice or bulgur
- 2 medium large onions
- 250 grams of minced meat (if you want you can leave the meat out)
- 2 table spoons of tomato paste
- Black pepper, salt and dried mint
- Half a glass of olive oil
- Juice of one lemon or 1 table spoon of pomegranate extract.
- 2 glasses of hot water
Sarma The Aegean Style Stuffed Grape Leaves With Olive Oil Recipe
Place the grape leaves in boiling water and boil for 3 to 5 minutes to soften them and make them more pliable. Then remove them and drain the water out. Place them aside.
To prepare the filling, put olive oil in a pan and sauté the small cut onions until translucent, for about 5 minutes. Then stir in the minced meat and cook together for a while. After that add the rice or bulgur. You can prepare the dish also without minced meat, in that case just add the rice or bulgur. Add a glass of water and let it simmer. When the rice or the bulgur are done, the dish is ready. Leave the dish for rest and allow the filling to cool. Add the rest of the ingredients and make sure all ingredients are mixed well.
Line the bottom of a heavy saucepan with some grape leaves. You can use the broken ones for this. To start rolling the leaves, place a leaf with the stem toward you on a flat surface. The underside (where you can see the veins) of the leaf should be face up. Cut the stem of the leaf. Place a tablespoon of filling in the bottom center of the leaf, just above the stem. Roll firmly the bottom section up to cover the filling. Fold the sides toward the center while rolling. Continue rolling the packet up toward the top point of the leaf. Place the rolls in layers in the pan, seam-side down. When all rolls are done and layered in the pan, add two glasses of hot water and lemon juice (or pomegranate extract). The leaves should be covered in enough water, by about a cm. Add some olive oil and salt for taste in the water. It’s advised to place a heatproof plate on top of the rolls to keep them submerged in the water. Then bring the pan to a boil, lower the heat and let it cook for about half an hour to 45 minutes. You can be sure that the rolls are done when the leaves are tender and the filling is soft.
You can serve the sarma the Aegean style stuffed grape leaves with olive oil with some homemade yoghurt or cacık (yoghurt with thinly sliced cucumber and garlic). Bon appetit!