Stuffed vine leaves, Istanbul-style

Stuffed vine leaves, Istanbul-style

New Middle Eastern Food
6-8 as part of a mezze selection
Mark Roper

There are numerous versions of stuffed vine leaves to be found all around the Middle East and Mediterranean. According to Claudia Roden, they were served at the court of King Khusrow II in Persia as early as the seventh century, subsequently spreading through the Muslim world and then the Ottoman Empire.


Quantity Ingredient
500g hand-sized vine leaves, fresh or preserved
100ml olive oil
40g pine nuts
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried mint
25g currants
250g short-grain rice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g good-quality chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 vine-ripened tomato, grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 lemon, sliced
200ml hot water
1 lemon, juiced


  1. If using fresh vine leaves, blanch them for 30 seconds and refresh in cold water. If using preserved vine leaves, soak them for 10 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
  2. To make the filling, heat half the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Sauté the pine nuts for a few minutes over medium heat until golden brown. Add the onion and sauté until softened, then add the spices, dried mint, currants and rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and add half the chicken stock to the pan. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining stock and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the stock has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated tomato and fresh herbs.
  3. Line the bottom of a heavy-based casserole dish with a few vine leaves and slices of lemon. Arrange the remaining leaves over a work surface, vein side up, and slice away the stems. Place a spoonful of the filling across the base of the leaf. Roll it over once, then fold in the sides and continue to roll it into a neat sausage shape. The parcels should be about the size of your little finger — don’t stuff them too tightly or they will burst during cooking. Continue stuffing and rolling until all the filling has been used.
  4. Pack the stuffed vine leaves into the casserole dish, layering them with more lemon slices, then pour in the hot water, lemon juice and remaining oil. Place a small plate on top of the parcels to keep them submerged in the liquid, then simmer gently, covered, for 30 minutes. Check whether the vine leaves are ready — if there is still liquid, return the dish to the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes, then check again.
  5. Leave the vine leaves to cool in the dish. When ready to serve, turn them out onto a large platter.
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again