Warak Enab is a Lebanese stuffed grape leaves recipe that has fillings of rice, ground beef, spices & herbs. It is a healthy dish which you can be satisfied with by eating alone with a slice of lemon.
If you think of vegetarian or vegetable-based dishes, you might think of just salad or other bland food. However, in the Middle East, we have many vegetarian dishes that are healthy and rich in flavor. That is because we love to put some herbs and spices in our food, which makes the food not bland.
There are many kinds of stuffed vegetable recipes we like to put, which include eggplant, zucchini, or grape leaves. But, in this post, I will like to share with you one delicious Middle-eastern grape leaves dish called Warak Enab.
What is Warak Enab?
It is a Middle Eastern stuffed grape leaves that have fillings of a mixture of rice, ground beef, spices & herbs. Traditionally, we are using grape leaves that are preserved in a jar or a can. Furthermore, you can make this dish vegan-friendly by removing the ground meat.
Historically, Middle East, Balkans & some Mediterranean nations were colonized by the Ottoman Empire (modern Turkey), from which we obtained most of our food cultures. The stuffed vegetable dishes are one example food how the Ottoman influenced the Middle Eastern dishes, which they call Dolma.
In Turkey, they called this food Sarma, while in Arab countries, we call it Waraq Enab. Although my recipe is a Lebanese or Jordanian style, other versions can be found from Egypt, Syria, Gulf Arab countries, or Palestine.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this recipe:
GRAPE LEAVES: The grape leaves I am using are a prepared jar or a can. You can find this in any Middle Eastern or Turkish grocery store.
FILLINGS: For filling the stuffed Lebanese grape leaves, you need uncooked white rice, ground beef, cumin, allspice, coriander leaves, and white onion.
Note: If you are a vegetarian or vegan eater, you can skip the ground beef.
BROTH: To make a broth for boiling or simmering the warak enab, I just use water, tomato paste, salt, and black pepper.
Things to do first before Cooking
Before you start cooking this recipe, make sure you first soaked the uncooked white rice in warm water for 15 minutes. This will help the rice cook faster.
In addition to that, I made a homemade tomato broth by mixing tomato paste, warm water, salt, and black pepper. After that, I set aside.
Step by Step Instruction
Cooking Warak Enab takes a bit of time since there are four things you should do: Preparing the Grape Leaves; Making the Rice Fillings; Wrapping, and Assembling & Cooking the Stuffed Grape Leaves
I. Preparing the Grape Leaves
In addition to that, before using the grape leaves, you need to clean them first by soaking them in warm or tepid water for few seconds. After that, you dry it up using clean clothes and transfer it to a plate.
II. Cooking the Rice Fillings
- I add olive oil to the pan. Once it becomes hot, add the chopped white onion. I stir till it turns translucent
- Next, I add the ground beef and then I let it cook for several minutes till there is less juice.
- After that, I add the uncooked white rice, chopped coriander leaves, and the rest of the spices, and stir to combine. Make sure you add salt and black pepper for taste. Once you are done, turn off the fire and set it aside.
III. Wrapping the Grapes Leaves
- Firstly, I place each grape leaves on a plate. Make sure the tip of the grape leaves is pointed upward.
- Secondly, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of rice fillings into the center of the grape leaves.
- Lastly, I fold them on both sides to the center and roll them from bottom to top. Make sure it is tightly rolled to prevent the rice from getting out when cooking this recipe.
IV. Assembling and Cooking
- In this step, I just add slices of potatoes, tomatoes, and remaining of the grape leaves to the bottom of the cooking pot as a first layer.
- On a second layer, I placed all the stuffed grape leaves on the pot.
- And then place a heat-proof plate in the pot and pushed it down using your hand. This will make sure they don't float or move around when simmering.
- After that, I pour the tomato broth into the pot, and then I turn on the fire. Wait till it started to boil.
- When boiling, I reduce it to medium-low or low heat and let it simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Once it reaches 1 hour and 15 minutes, I remove the plate and observe if the rice is already cooked. If the rice is still hard, continue simmering and observe again every 15 minutes.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ'S)
1. Can I make my Warak Enab into vegan friendly?
Yes, you can just remove the ground meat when making the grape leaves fillings.
2. Can I use pressure cooker when using this recipe?
You can use a pressure cooker which you can cook for only less than 1 hour.
3. How can I reheat this Lebanese grape leaves?
You can reheat using the microwave by heating for 2 to 3 minutes in a medium-high setting. However, in some countries, you can eat these stuffed grape leaves either cold or hot.
Other Lebanese Stuffed Recipes
Here are other delicious vegetable-based stuffed recipes you make at home:
📋 Recipe Card
Warak Enab (Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves)
- 40 to 50 grape leaves
- 1 and ½ cup of uncooked white rice
- 150 gram of ground beef
- 1 cup of chopped white onion
- ⅓ cup of chopped coriander leaves
- 1 teaspoon of allspice
- ¼ teaspoon of cumin
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and Black pepper for taste
- Water Estimate based on the size of a cooking pot
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- Preparing the Grape Leaves
- Soak the Grape Leaves in tepid or warm water for few seconds.
- Remove it from the water, dry it using clean clothes, and transfer it to a plate.
- Repeat the rest of the Grape leaves. Set aside.
- Cooking the Rice Fillings
- Add olive oil to the pan and wait until it becomes hot.
- Add chopped white onion. Stir for few minutes or till it turns translucent
- Add the ground beef and stir to combine. Let it cook till the juices fully evaporate
- Add the uncooked white rice, chopped coriander leaves, allspice & cumin. Stir to combine
- Add salt and black pepper for taste. Stir one more time before turning off the fire.
- Wrapping the Grape Leaves
- Place each grape leaves on a plate. The tip of the leaves must be pointed upward
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of rice filling into the center of the leaves
- Fold them on both sides and roll from bottom to top. The grape leaves must be wrapped and rolled tight enough to make sure the rice filling will not go out when simmering.
- Repeat the rest of the grape leaves. Set aside.
- Assembling and Cooking
- In a cooking pot, add slices of potatoes, tomatoes, and the remaining grape leaves.
- Next, place the remaining the stuffed grape leaves on the cooking pot.
- Add a heat-proof plate to the cooking pot. This will help hold the stuffed grape leaves together during cooking
- Pour the tomato broth (mixture of tomato paste, water, salt, and black pepper) into the pot.
- Turn on the fire in high fire and let it boil. Once boiling, lower to medium-low or low heat. Let it simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Once you reach 1 hour and 15 minutes, remove the plate and observe if the rice is cooked and soft. If not, repeat and observe every 15 minutes.
- Once done, turn off the heat and let it cool down for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with slices of lemon to drizzle the waraq enab.
- The tomato broth is made from mixture of warm water, tomato paste, salt and black pepper. You can use tomato juice if you have one.
- The uncooked white rice must be soaked in warm water for 15 minutes to help cook the rice faster when simmering.