Turkish Stuffed Grape Leaves (Etli Yaprak Sarmasi)…
Not only is Muruvvet a wonderful person, she is a wonderful cook!
Everyday she would whip up something so tasty, and still manage to make it look so effortless.
Like any authentic home cooking, what makes it so delicious is the cook’s familiarity of the cuisine, and of course their true love and appreciation for their culture’s food.
There are many reason why I love Turkish cuisine, for example, dishes are based on local ingredients and what’s in season, they use whole ingredients and know exactly where their animal products come from.
Sounds the way it should be, pretty basic, right?
Turkish woman put a lot of time and effort into their cooking and don’t cut any corners in the kitchen, for example they make bread weekly if not daily, soak beans over night, chop onions by hand, and buy fish, chickens and even lamb whole… the list goes on.
What is Sarma?
The term sarma comes from the Turkish verb “sarmak,” which means to roll.
Sarma is pretty much the same at the Greek dolma, the only difference is the name. In Turkish, dolma means “stuffed.” Therefore, Turkish dolmas are things like stuffed peppers, artichokes, eggplants, etc.
Muruvvet used grape leaves from her garden, because like I said, Turks don’t cut corners. But like I did, you can just buy grape leaves from the grocery store. In this case soak them in water for about an hour
About 50 grape leaves
1/2 lb of ground lamb (optional, I used TVP to make it vegetarian)
1/3 cup rice
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 cup chopped parsley and dill
salt and pepper
1 T tomato paste
2 T olive oil
juice of half a lemon
In a bowl combine the first 5 ingredients.
dissolve the tablespoon of tomato paste in about 3 T of hot water.
Add to your rice mixture and mix well.
Prepare a your cooking pot by putting any of the grape leaves that are broken or too torn up to use along the bottom- this keeps your sarmas from sticking to the pot.
Place a grape leaf stem side up, smooth side down on a flat surface
Place about a spoonful of the filling down.
Fold over the sides and then roll up.
Continue until all your leaves or filling are finished.
If you have left over rice mixture you can stuff peppers
Neatly and tightly layer your sarmas
Add about 2 T olive oil, your lemon juice and just enough water to barely cover the sarmas.
This part cracks me up- place a plate on top of your sarmas- this keeps them from moving.
Cover with the pots lid and cook on low heat for 35-45 minutes.
Serve with a fresh loaf of bread and yogurt or cacik