Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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O God! How beautiful is this love of ours
that has both embellished us and the world...
O my God! What an exquisite drink,
what beautiful foods and blessings!
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Total time: 3-½+ hours
Preparation: 1-½ hours
Chilling: 2+ hours
1-16 oz. jar grape leaves
1 cup rice
⅛ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup dried currants
1 cup very finely chopped onion
1 tbsp. dried dill
½ cup pine nuts (optional)

Remove grape leaves from the jar, unroll them, and soak them in several changes of hot water to remove the brine. Place leaves on a towel to absorb excess moisture.

Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a tightly lidded pot. Add the rice and salt, return to the boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Transfer the rice to a mixing bowl, fluff it up with a fork, add the olive oil, stir it some more, and let it rest until it is cool enough to handle.

In the meantime, squeeze the lemon juice and pour it over the currants. Allow the currants to soak in the juice for at least a half an hour.

Combine the rice, currants and juice, chopped onion and dried dill, and mix well. If the mixture does not stick together well (this depends on the rice you are using), add another tablespoonful or two of olive oil. Spread out a grape leaf with the veins face up. Place a small dollop of stuffing in the center of the leaf; the amount of stuffing depends upon the size of the leaf, which can vary greatly within a single jar. Fold up the bottom over the stuffing, then fold over each side. Roll up the leaf tightly, tucking in the edges to make a neat cylinder. The pointed tip of the leaf should curl gracefully over the center of the roll.

Let the grape leaves rest for several hours so that the flavors may blend; cover them tightly to prevent drying. They may be served cold or at room temperature.