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Lebanese rolled vine leaves recipe

I fell in love with Linda Mourra many years ago, when I dated her son and became best mates with her daughter, Naomi. I confess it was partly Linda’s Lebanese mama cooking, but mostly her big heart.

The women I love – Naomi and Linda Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

A couple of months back, we spent the most delicious day, as a giggle of women, making, or rather, watching Linda make our favourite Lebanese dishes and hearing about her childhood in the hills of Lebanon.

It’s taken me a while to publish this post, because the smallest member of our family managed to kill my hard drive. It’s taken a bit, but I’m so happy that I’ve been able to salvage (almost all) of the images and recipes.

Soon, I’ll be sharing the recipes for tabouli, cabbage salad, cabbage rolls and last, but definitely not least, bakalava.

Please bear with me, this series is more like a love letter to Linda’s cooking and that magical day than straight recipes. Linda learned these recipes from her mother and other women of the village and has cooked them her whole life and could make them blind-folded.

She told us how the women of her village would all come together for vine leaf rolling day to sit, drink Arabic coffee, roll, gossip and giggle.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Rolled vine leaf ingredients:

150 vine leaves (Linda blanches the ones from her grape vine and stores them in the freezer)
1 kilo white rice
2 kilos lamb mince
1 tablespoon dried mint
½ teaspoon chilli powder
White pepper
Black pepper
Salt
½ cup oil
about ½ cup ghee
1 kilo lamb chops

Directions:

Boil a big pot of water (for blanching vine leaves)
Wash rice and strain.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Add the lamb,

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Add dried mint and chilli powder,

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Add 1 tablespoon salt and ¼ tablespoon black pepper,

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Add ½ cup oil,

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Add  1/3 cup ghee,

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

And mix well.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine
Put 1 kg lamb chops in the bottom of a big pot.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Sprinkle lamb chops with ½ tablespoon of white pepper and some salt.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine Place the pot in the middle of the table – ready to stack the vine leaves on top.Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine
Serve some Arabic coffee and sprinkle with lots of laughter and gossip.

To roll the vine leaves:

Blanch vine leaves in boiling water and separate.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine
Lay out the vine leaves.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Pinch a leetle, leetle bit of the meat mixture onto vine leaf.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

You can get fancy and store the rolled vine leaves between the fingers and keep rolling. We decided Linda could’ve made a lot of money rolling Cuban cigars.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Stack the rolled vine leaves on top of the lamb chops.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Layer, upon layer.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

When you have finished rolling, sprinkle top with white and black pepper and salt.Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

And 1 tablespoon of ghee, too.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine
Cover the vine leaves with water and weigh the vine leaves down with a smaller lid that fits inside the pot.

Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine
Put the proper/main pot lid on and cook on high until water boils and turn down heat a bit and cook for 2 ½ hours. Check they are cooked and keep cooking if need be. When they are ready, squeeze the juice of 3 lemons over the cooked vine leaf rolls.Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah MagazineTip out of the pot.Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah MagazineServe with the lamb chops (and some tabouli – recipe coming up next).Lebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

Enjoy xLebanese recipe for vine leaves | Blah Blah Magazine

About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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4 comments

  1. These look amazing. And gosh your photos are beautiful. The deli ones just don’t cut it when you see the love that goes into these.

  2. These look so delicious, even more so because of the story that goes with it. How special that she is sharing this with you. Dropping by from #FFF

  3. Love these and the story behind it… what a way to celebrate eating and family and friends. x

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