Yalanji, is made from grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, onion, peppers (optional), spices, olive oil and a touch of pomegranate molasses that gives this dish its typical sweet and sour taste. Stuffed vine leaves (yabrak, dolma, sarma) are believed to have originated in Turkey. They are found in all the countries of the Levant and mainly in two forms:
1- There is the vegetarian version, called in the Near East yalanji (from the Turkish yalanci dolma which means false dolma because it has no meat). It is served cold as a light starter.
2- Then there is the rich version, served hot as a main course, traditionally for special occasions and receptions. In the Middle East, this dish is called yabraq (from the Turkish yaprak meaning leaf), the grape leaves are stuffed with a mixture of rice, minced lamb meat, spices and cooked in a lemony broth on a base of lamb chops and garlic cloves.
Unlike the thick and small yalanji, the yabraq is long and thin. Rolling up the sheets is tedious and time-consuming for newbies, but it becomes a breeze with practice.
Ingredients: grape leaves, rice, sunflower oil, tomato, spices (parsley – mint – pepper – onion), water, salt, citric acid.
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