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Stuffed Grape Leaves with Meat - Warak Enab

Middle Eastern style grape leaves stuffed with spiced rice and lamb slowly cooked into mouthwatering perfection with a tangy lemon broth
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: middle eastern, stuffed
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 poeple
Calories: 628kcal
Author: Farah Abumaizar


For the rice stuffing:

  • 1.5 cups Egyptian rice (short grain rice)
  • 1 small tomato, very finely diced
  • 1 small onion, very finely diced,
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp seven spices or all spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 g ground lamb

To assemble:

  • 6-8 zucchini (koosa), cored
  • 2-3 eggplants, cored
  • 1 jar vine leaves (450 g or 1 lb)
  • 2 tomatoes sliced
  • 2 potatoes sliced
  • 1/2 kg lamb chops or lamb neck pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • olive oil
  • 3 lemons, juiced


For the rice stuffing:

  • Soak the Egyptian rice for 20 minutes or so, then rinse wjth cold water until water runs clear.
  • Place rice in a large bowl and add the tomato, onion, parsley, garlic, spices, and olive oil and stir well to combine. Add the raw minced lamb, and stir to evenly incorporate into the rice mixture. It might be easier to use your hands to work the meat into the rice.

To stuff:

  • Place the vine leaves in a bowl of hot water for 3 minutes. This helps them lose a little of the brininess. Drain, and gently separate vine leaves.
  • Stuff the cored zucchini and eggplant until 3/4 filled with rice. Use your finger to pack them firmly. Set aside.
  • Stuff the vine leaves by placing an individual leaf with the tip pointing upwards, placing a heaped teaspoon of the rice stuffing in the center of the vine leave, then rolling from the bottom upwards, tucking in the sides of the vine leaves as you go. It's like you're making a sandwich wrap. Keep going until you've finished all the stuffing.

To Assemble:

  • Place a layer of tomatoes at the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Layer your potato slices on top of the tomato. This will keep the vine leaves touching the bottom of the pan from burning, plus they are delicious.
  • Season the lamb chops or lamb neck with salt and pepper, and place on top of the potato slices.
  • Scatter the whole peeled garlic cloves over the lamb. Place the stuffed zucchini and eggplant in a ring around the circumference of the pot, then gently place the stuffed vine leaves in an even layer filling the rest of the pot, like pictured above.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the top of the filled pot. Add boiling water to the pot, pouring at the edge of the pot until the water just comes to the top layer of the vine leaves- the top layer shouldn't be submerged. Sprinkle with salt to season. Place a plate on top of the vine leaves to hold them down so the vine leaves don't float around while cooking. Cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid
  • Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let the fluid in the pot come to a simmer. Simmer for anywhere between 1.5-2.5 hours, or until vine leaves and stuffed vegetables are cooked through and the rice inside is cooked through. Start checking at the 1 hour mark. 15 minutes before you take the pot off the heat, add the lemon juice.
  • Once the meal is ready, flip the vine leaves onto a large serving plate carefully. Serve immediately and enjoy with some yogurt on the side. These are also very tasty at room temperature or cold!
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Calories: 628kcal