okay-the other day i made YALANJI (pronounced- yo - lan - ge)
Let me go ahead and say first, i apologize for the fuzzy pictures-it was taken from my cell phone.
its a version of stuffed grape leaves that is all vegetarian and better served cold or room temperature. I believe it has more syrian roots, although many pther countries make this dish as well. Its not as well known as regular grape leaves. its a great dish to have when you have company and finger foods are on the menu. My family loves it because it is lemony and yummy (at least for us)
THINGS YOU NEED
Grape leaves (depending on your brand, i have to soak mine in hot water because they are still tough and very salty)
pre-washed rice (i use calrose-its perfect for mahshi-stuffing)
Onions (chopped finely)
tomatoes (chopped finely)
parsely (again finely chopped)
garbonzo beans (skinned and chopped in smaller pieces-i do half and each half in quarters)
tumeric (it doesn't have much taste-but its very healthy for you-not everyone adds this-i do for health benefits)
one or two potatoes-washed, skinned, thickly sliced and set aside
MINT (if fresh-chop like the parsely, if dried-rub between hands to make it semi fine)
in a bowl, combine rice-tomatoes, garbonzo beans, parsely, onions, mint.
Next add your olive oil (add a 2-3 teaspoons first-to check for consistency-can add a bit more later), juice from your lemon, about 1 teaspoon of sumac, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and about 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric (this is strong-you dont need much and it will turn things yellow).
i know the rice is raw, but i always taste mine at this stage...to check for flavor..if it needs more salt, lemon juice. You want it moist-not super wet, but definatly not very dry!!
if you have the time to make this ahead of time, great-pop it in the fridge for a few hours to really let the flavors merge together. if not, no biggie!!
same as you would for regular grape leaves....try to make these guys smaller...so if you have to cut some leaves (if they are too large) go for it....
NEXT: placing them in the pot...
at the bottom of the pot, place left over grape leaves that were broken or you couldn't use. Since this dish has no meat, its easier for it to burn.
On top of the grape leaves...add a few slices of your lemon. The one that you took the juice out of. If they have any meat left inside (meaning inside of lemon) this adds more lemon to the dish.
On top of the lemons, layer with the sliced potatoes. these are not for eating (even though i do) they are more for keeping them grapes leaves from burning. On top of them place your grape leaves. My mother always did each row opposite of the other....Meaning one layer heading north and south, the next layer east and west.
(my daughter tried rolling some-not bad for her first time....)
NEXT: The Sauce
no pictures for this one...but my rule has always been, whatever you put in the rice mix....you put in the sauce. So in a bowl, add water - enough to cover the leaves, add to it salt-pepper-garlic powder-sumac-lemon juice (i sometimes use citric acid if i am running low on lemons) a little olive oil-(since you have some in the rice-you dont want it too oily) and a small pinch of tumeric (like a 1/4 teaspoon). Mix and take a taste. Truth be told-if the mix is too salty-it will be too salty-if not enough, probably should add a little more)
i think this is why i put on weight when i cook-because i have to test everything!!!
My tip-place a small plate on top of the grape leaves, one that fits inside the pot-this way when you pour the sauce on top, the grape leaves dont move around. Put a little pressure on top-try to get some air out.
Cook-never on high-this will burn. Once the pot begins to boil-and the water starts receding, lower and continue to cook. You can remove the plate once the water level drops.
Test one-check to see if done. Once done-try to flip the pot on a serving tray-smack the bottom a few times, so anything that might have been stuck loosens. remove the pot and remove extra leaves-the sliced lemon and potatoes-or leave them for decoration if you like.
*If you don't stand for something, then you will fall for anything*