Sunday, 14 July 2013

Waraq inab bi zayt (vine leaves in olive oil)

For anyone who has tasted this home made, I do not need to begin to explain how delicious it is!!! Honestly I could live off this dish, lol, literally! It isn't super hard, or super easy. The ingredients are simple, yet all it requires is a technique...which I have tried my best to explain and show. I am not a professional at rolling these vine leaves, but I find it very therapeutic and enjoyable. 

  • Skill level: Medium
  • Serves: 7 people
  • Prep time: 1.5-2 hours
  • Cooking time: 2-3 hours
What you will need:

For the vine leaves filling

1 + 1/4 cup basmati rice
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
4 large spring onions, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 handfuls mint leaves, chopped
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
Juice of 2 lemons
1 cup olive oil
1 jar vine leaves

For the overall dish

6 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
8 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
4 tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 x 400g frozen broad beans
Juice of 4 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
2 + 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tbsp salt

How to make:

1) To prepare the vine leaves, rinse the rice a few times, then wash and drain, placing it in a large bowl. Add the finely chopped parsley, onions, tomatoes, mint leaves, salt, cinnamon, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well

2) In a small pot, boil a little water, then place a bunch of vine leaves (jar used shown below) at a time, boiling them for a minute, then removing them to drain

3) To wrap the leaves, cut the stalk of each leaf. Place it flat, with the smooth side down 

 4) Add a little of the filling (too much filling and the vine leaf will burst when cooking)

5) Roll the lower part first, do it gently yet tightly

This has not been tightened yet
6) Now fold the sides, then continue rolling

7) Whilst you are rolling, keep the leaf tight to avoid it falling apart. Repeat this for all the leaves

Video to illustrate the above description
8) In a large pot, add the potatoes, tomatoes, onions, then take the rolled vine leaves in bunches, squeezing them tightly with your hand to compress them together and remove excess liquid, then place it in the pot

9) Add the lemon juice, oil, boiling water and salt over the vine leaves, turn the heat to medium, then place a plate over the leaves and compress them downwards (the liquid should be enough that it starts covering some of the plate). Leave the liquid to boil, once it does, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook for at least 2 hours

Plate will be compressed downwards
10) After 2 hours, check on the vine leaves by removing one of the wrapped leaves, with a fork try to cut it in half to taste. If the rice is cooked and it was easy to cut, it means all the other leaves are also done, if not - then leave it on the heat for longer until the leaves are done

11) Once all is cooked, plate up nicely by removing each leaf (without the liquid) (it will be piping hot, so you may wish to drain the liquid first and then leave the leaves to cool, or wet your fingers before removing each leaf - don't turn off the heat and leave in the liquid, because this will make the leaves break and become too soft). You may wish to also keep the liquid separate to pour over the dish later whilst serving

The good thing about this is that with any excess mixture, you can make a rice dish. You may also serve this with anything - because it is seen as a side dish and not really a main one. If you do try this, you will absolutely love the final result inshAllah! Enjoy :)


  1. My besfriend, half lebanesse, told me about this, that they aunts take the leaves from the tree and let them boil during all night, it's a hard work, but it tastes soooo good. I think I will have to find that ready made leaves and try to make this :D

    Thanks for the recipe!


    1. Awww yes! Leaves from the jar are so much easier, and also taste delicious! I really hope you try this Laila :)

  2. Mmm, mmm. My favorite! My mother-in-law makes this for me every time I visit because she knows how much I love it :) I could literally live off this too lol! It's especially good the next day, cold and straight out of the fridge. Oh, you've got to have it with a side of yogurt - super yum!

    1. Awww mashAllah! Lucky you in that case, I say keep on visiting her :) So true, it is even more delicious the next day! Thank you so much for your comment :)

  3. Did you take them out of the pot 1 by 1?

    1. Yes i did - they are very delicate even after cooked