How to make Warak Einab (aka Dolmades)
One of our favorite delicacies on any Mediterranean mezze platter are warak einab, commonly known as dolmades. Don’t judge these little rockets by their appearance as they are tastier than they look with a distinctive sour yet savoury taste. These tiny parcels are traditionally made with cabbage or grape leaves, and stuffed with a delicious herby rice or meat mixture, boiled until soft and tender.
We currently don’t make warak einab at the Lebanese Bakery. The truth is, these little bursts of flavour are the ultimate labour of love, taking up to 2 – 3 hours to make. The process is very intensive and involves a lot of preparation and patience – but they really are so worth the wait.
Khaled and I thought it would be fun to challenge you to try these at home. Using some of our Bustan products, we put together a little recipe for you to DIY in the kitchen.
- 60 House of Syria Grape Leaves, drained and rinsed
- 250g rice (1 cup)
- 2 finely chopped onions
- 2 cups of warm water
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp of chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 a cup of chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the vine leaves and remove the stems.
- Start making the filling by rinsing the rice in a colander under running water. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and saute the chopped onions in ⅓ cup of olive oil.
- Once tender, add the rice to the onion mix and fry for 1 minute.
- Pour in 2 cups of warm water and half the lemon juice. Allow to simmer for about 7 minutes or until the rice absorbs the water.
- Season with salt and pepper and stir in the herbs.
- Remove from the stove and set aside to cool.
- Layer the bottom of a large pot with some of the lesser perfect vine leaves.
- Place the shiny side of the vine leaf down on a flat surface and add 1 teaspoon of the rice mixture at the bottom end – the one with the stem. (don’t overfill your grape leaves)
- Fold the lower section of the leaf over the rice filling towards the middle and bring the two sides in. Roll them up tightly.
- Place the stuffed vine leaves folded side down on the bottom of the pot and arrange in layers. Be careful not to leave any gaps between the dolmades
- Drizzle the stuffed vine leaves with olive oil and lemon juice and season with some more salt and pepper.
- Place an inverted plate on top to hold them down when cooking and pour in enough water to cover them
- Place the lid on top and simmer the dolmades for 30-40 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
- Remove the pot from heat. Remove lid and plate. Let them cool for about 30 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold with an extra squeeze of lemon juice. Eat them as is or enjoy them with some olives, toumeya or tzatziki.
Our House of Syria grape leaves are available in our bakery and available to order and collect online. Visit the pantry section of our new online shop on www.lebanesebakery.co.za
Happy making! With love from Clara, Khaled and the LB Team!