34 cups water or chicken stock (enough to cover the pot of rolled grape leaves)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp Sultan Brand Olive Oil
1 Juice of one lemon
12 tbsp Ziyad Brand Tomato Paste( optional)
Whisk all the ingredients together to combine. Set aside
Rinse the rice few times until water runs clear, strain the rice. Add the rice to a bow add the meat, ghee and spices and mix well to combine.
Prep the grape leaves:
Strain the grape leaves from the jar and rinse few times under cold water to get rid of the pickling salt. Strain from water and set aside.
To Stuff the Grape Leaves:
Lay the grape leaves on a flat surface. Rough side facing up. Add one tsp of rice and meat mixture to the middle of the leaf, fold in both sides and roll as tightly as you could just like you would with an egg roll to ensure the rice stuffing stays inside.
To a heavy pot, add the rolled grape leaves in layers, make sure they are snug together (seem side down) to prevent them from opening while cooking.
Cover the stuffed grape leaves with the prepared cooking liquid (just enough to cover the leaves).
Let the mixture come to a boil for 10 minutes on high, then cover the pot, lower the heat to simmer and cook until the rice and meat are cooked through and leaves are tender about 1.5 hours. Start checking at 60 minutes. Make sure there is always liquid in the pot so the grape leaves don’t burn.
To serve: carefully drain most of the liquid from the cooking pot and set arise. Flip the pot on a large platter and enjoy hot.
To prevent the grape leaves from moving around and opening while cooking; cover the top layer with a heat resistant plate slightly smaller than the pot
Liquid should be just enough to cover the grape leaves if it’s too much the grape leaves will open up, if there is not enough liquid the grape leaves won’t cook properly.