What can I say about this meal except that it might be one of my all-time favourite things to eat. Ever. And what’s not to love? It practically melts in your mouth and the taste is out of this world! It’s so good I can’t begin to tell you (or did I just attempt to?)
Making this at home is not only simple, but quite satisfying knowing you’ve made Yalangi when most people go out and buy theirs ;)
This post is especially dedicated to one of my Instagram followers Mrs. Simard who had asked me to put the recipe on the blog. Enjoy beautiful!
Yalangi Yields: serves up to 8 comfortably
2C short grain or sushi rice*, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes, peeled and finely diced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley (about a good handful), finely chopped
1tsp dried mint (optional) — heightens the taste therefore recommended but if you don’t have on hand then it’s optional, it’ll still taste great.
2 heaping tbsp pomegranate molasses
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2tbsp lemon juice)
2 1/2tsp Iodized sea salt**
1/2tsp ground pepper
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/4C lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
1/4C extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2tsp Iodized Sea Salt**
1/8tsp ground pepper
1 jar grape leaves
Begin by emptying the jar of grape leaves and place them in a pot with enough water to cover the leaves. Wash slightly with hand to loosen and rid of the juice the leaves have been sitting in.
Dump the water, refill pot and place on the stove on high until it reaches boil – at which point you’ll want to turn off and let cool slightly while you prepare the stuffing.
In a medium bowl, combine rice, tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, 1 1/2tsp salt, and pepper. Taste the juice mix to make sure the salt is ok, and if you feel it needs more salt, add the other 1tsp.
Being careful not to burn your face from the steam, dump the water and place cold water over the leaves to cool them further and allow you to handle them.
Taking each leaf at a time, cut the stem off and discard. You should have something like this.
Place about a teaspoon (eyeball it – you don’t need to be exact) just on top of the removed stem. Roll and fold as follows:
Ensure you make a tight roll without ripping the leaf. Your finished roll should look like this.
One-handed roll..not bad at all (patting myself on the back at the moment)!
Now, you’ll more than likely come across leaves that are half cut, or maybe you ripped one by accident when separating. Don’t despair and don’t discard! Use them just as shown.
You’ll also come across some leaves that are larger in size, in which case you’ll want to add a bit more of the rice mix. Trust me, once you make a few, you’ll get the hang of it. But on average, you’ll want to place about a teaspoon per leaf.
And something else to mention, make sure you’re placing the rice mix on the inside part of the leaf as shown in the pic below. (So you’ll want the smooth part on the outside)
Once you’ve rolled the leaves, you may place them in a Tupperware in the fridge for a few days, until ready to cook.
Tip: You may also end up (depending on how many leaves came in the jar) with a bit more rice mix than leaves, in which case you can stuff peppers with it, or if you don’t have such vegetables, use coffee paper or a cheese cloth and place the rest of the rice mix in there to cook with the leaves.
You’re now ready to cook!
Place the chopped carrots at the bottom of the pot in a somewhat uniformed fashion. season with a dash of salt and pepper.
Then do the same with the grape leaves. Ensure leaves are snug so as to not have them unwrap and ruin your hard work! Also, make sure that you place the stuffed leaves where the end of the roll is tucked at the bottom.
When you’ve finished with your first layer, season with some salt and pepper and repeat with another layer of the leaves. repeat steps until all leaves are placed snuggly against each other in the pot.
Next, take a plate and place upside down on top of the leaves to secure them in place. Place something with weight gently on top of the plate to further weigh down the leaves so they don’t move. I fill my kettle with water and place it on top of the plate.
In a small bowl, combine water, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste to ensure it’s to your liking. Then slowly pour over the leaves. You’ll want enough water to just cover the edge of the plate (about 1/2 an inch over the leaves).
Slowly pour the liquid into the pot. Notice how the water is just peaking over the plate. That’s about all the water that you’ll want to show.
Turn the heat on high and allow water to boil. Once it boils, turn to lowest low and wait until water is no longer boiling (bubbling), then carefully remove the weight but leave the plate where it is!
Cover the pot with lid and allow to cook gently for approximately 2 1/2 hours.
Tip: Alternatively, if you have to work or need to leave the house, you may wish to make the Yalangi in your slow cooker/crock pot. Same process applies except you’ll want to set your temperature on high and once you notice a rolling boil, turn dial to low and cook for approximately 6 hours.
And you also wouldn’t need a weight on top of the plate because you’re not boiling the water. Update: to err on the side of caution – Do put a weight on top of the plate (same method as on the stove) and remove once you notice the water has heated up (small rolling boil) at which point you’d remove the weight, keep the plate, and close the lid. Let cook for the recommended time above.
Remove lid, remove plate, and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Or in this particular case, the stuffed grape leaves of your labour… (I really need to work on my comedy).
You’ll want to be careful for this next step, or have someone help you if you can. You need to flip the pot over the serving plate as shown. I had Jaafer help me because my pot is way too heavy! If you can’t flip it or are uncomfortable doing so, then you can take the grape leaves one by one and place them in your serving dish (the flip is just much quicker).
Oh. My. Goodness!
Enjoy as a main dish with hummus. My family (Syrians) considers Yalangi a side dish and enjoy it cold. Whereas my husband’s side (Lebanese) treat it as a main meal and serve it warm. Tomato tomato – in the end, the important thing is it gets eaten!
Bon appétit! xo
* I use organic rice. Actually almost every ingredient I post that I personally purchase and use is organic and if not then locally produced. I know it’s expensive so don’t feel you need to buy organic all the time. But I saw an episode on Dr. Oz where he talked about how much arsenic is in rice. So that’s why if you can at least try to buy your rice organic whenever possible. The same goes for your apples and berries (pesticides). I sometimes wait for them to go on sale and buy in bulk. Everything else, if it has a thick skin, then you should be ok with buying non-organic.
**I strictly use Iodized Sea Salt by Kalas in my cooking and baking. Iodine is very important in our diet but table salt is very high in sodium and that’s why I choose not to use it. Sea salt has less sodium so it tastes “less salty” even if you were to put more in your meal. That’s why, whenever you see me actually have measurement for salt, be mindful that it isn’t regular table salt I’m using. So start out with half of what I have written and increase as needed.