♥♥ When two Cultures mixed (。◕‿◕。) Anything in my Page are only simple thing, but I did it with great love.

Kıymalı Yaprak Sarması / Turkish Grape Leaves stuffed with rice and meat

Selam everybody.....Merhaba from Turkiye.

Firstly let me wish you Ramadhan Mubarek for you my muslim sisters and brother around the globe. Have a happy and full of blessed of Ramadhan, keep healthy and fill this holy month with many good deeds.
Ramazan-ı şerifiniz mübarek olsun.

And my recipe today is definitely one of the typical Ramadhan (and Eid-el Fitr) meal among others.
İt's Kıymalı yaprak sarması which literally means rolled vine/ grape leaves with meat. İt's a grape leaves stuffed with rice, meat and some herbs. Sometimes black currant or pine nut added. Cook with splash of olive oil and lemon. Then serve hot or room temperature with sarımsaklı yogurt (garlic yogurt sauce) and /or ezme (meze).
Originating in Turkey and spreading all over Mediterranean, Middle east, east Europe and beyond.

Some recipe didn't use meat/ meatless so we call it etsiz yaprak sarması as vegan version-which is İ prefer to make. But my husband is "meat person" , he loves anything with meat in it. 

İf you have your own vine plant around, try to pick young, thin and wide-enough leaves. Spring is perfect time for harvest some grape leaves. Pick as much as you can, you can brine and keep them for the next few month.
My mother inlaw usually bring me a big bunch of fresh new grape leaves harvested from her own plant.
Or you can get from farmer market whether fresh or brine one. İf İ should buy from market İ prefer buy fresh one. The brine leaves for me always away too salty and tangy even İ already soaked them in warm water all night. So better buy fresh leaves then mild brine them as İ usually do, see cook note below.

So there are steps to make this Yaprak sarma, prepare and cook the grape leaves, make filling, roll them and cook them. Sound a long journey? 😤 Not rally actually.
You can cook and brine ( mine "mild" brine) the grape leaves first then you can keep them in fridge or freezer. Whenever you want to cook your sarma you are then happy that you have your leaves ready to roll.

After you prepare the filling- which is you can do it in short time then you can fill the leaves and roll them. İf you have kids or anybody around the house, this is the time you can spend sometimes together to roll the sarma 😏
Use tea spoon or dessert spoon to fill the sarma, you don't want to stuff your leaves too much. Traditional Turkish yaprak sarma made by local women here are pretty small, tiny tidy and sometimes tiny long. Old rumored said one of 'requirement' to be somebody's bride (Turkçe; gelin) is the girl should can roll tiny-tidy sarma and girl should also can open (roll out) the dough 😊
Well...... 😊

Okay ... long story short, here İ will share my latest yaprak sarması recipe. İ make this yaprak sarma like dozens times-as long as İ have my brine grape leaves in my stock and İ already posted recipe previously long time ago. But today İ am going to share my yaprak sarması recipe again. This recipe slightly different from my previous post here.
İf you want to make vegan version, just skip the meat and replace with rice.

A) Prepare and cook the leaves.

İf you use brine grape leaves, you need to soak them a night before in water to reduce saltiness and tangy-ness.

İf you start from fresh leaves, wash them clean and drain. Boil enough water with few tablespoon of vinegar. Me; about 1 tablespoon every 1 lt of water. As you know vinegar can prevent/ kill bacteria to grow so we can keep cured leaves longer in fridge/ freezer.
Put the grape leaves into boil water and let it wilt couple minutes (3 to 4 minutes). 
Carefully remove from hot water and drain them well.
Keep the leaves in plastic bag or container (careful not to fold them). Now you can keep the leaves in fridge for about 1 months or in freezer up to 5 months (maybe more, İ don't have experience keep in freezer more than 5 month).
Defrost leaves from freezer before use. From 1 kg fresh leaves we will get approximately 1.3 kg brine leaves.

B) Kıymalı Yaprak Sarması / Turkish Grape Leaves stuffed with rice and meat recipe

  • 1 kg fresh vine leaves, see note above how to prepare the leaves
  • 3 cups ( ±700 gr) short-grain rice, wash and soak in warm water & salt ±1 hour
  • 400 gr ground meat
  • 4 big onion (  ±450 gr), finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp all spice (yenibahar)
  • 1 bunch of  fresh parsley
  •  ½ bunch of fresh dill ( İ don't have it, İ skip it)
  • 1 bunch fresh mint ( or 3 tbsp dried one)
  • 2 ½ tsp or to taste salt
  • dash of black pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  •  ± ½ cup olive oil

How to make:

1. Wash and soak rice in warm water and pinch of salt for about 1 hour. Drain well. 

2. Put everything in big bowl and knead to mix well.

3. Working one leaf at a time. Take one grape leaf and put over wide flat working surface, add filling mixture about 2 tsp-remove any stem if any.
Start to roll by folding bottom part and roll to middle, then fold two side of leaf into middle and continue rolling to the end to shape like a log. You should pull it tight during roll the sarma to end. See illustration below.

4. Do same procedure to finish all filling. Arrange them in sarma pan, it's wide and shallow pan. Try to arrange them tight and set each other. 

5. Add a good glug of olive oil, add few slice of lemon. Pour hot water until cover all sarma, then put something flat and heavy-like ceramic plate. Cover the lid and cook over medium heat for about 50 minutes. Watch closely if water goes dry.

Remove from pan and arrange over a serving plate. Serve hot or room temperature with garlic yogurt sauce and lemon.
See lower part for making garlic yogurt sauce or see this link.

Making garlic yogurt sauce:
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  • 3-4 cup thick yogurt
  • olive oil
Crush and puree garlic and salt and put in a medium bowl. Add in yogurt and mix well. Before serve flush with olive oil.



  1. I love all your process photos. It makes the process of making them very clear.
    Love stuffed grape leaves. yum

  2. I LOVE stuffed grape leaves. I have never had them with meat....just with rice...the Greek version. Since I am Ukrainian, cabbage rolls and grape leaf rolls go hand in hand. Delicious.

  3. I've never made stuffed grape leaves, but your step-by-step photos make it seem not too intimidating!

  4. I love stuffed grape leaves and I keep a jar in my fridge to make them when I am inspired. I have just been inspired to make your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  5. These look perfect!I would love to make these at home.

  6. I like that you serve them with a yogurt sauce. And thanks for the pictures on how to roll them properly! They look beautiful!

  7. Stuffed grape leaves are one of my favorites! I don't make them at home often enough - this recipe looks fabulous!

  8. These sound delicious! I've never had stuffed vine leaves but I need to!

  9. I love exotic recipes and I've never tried anything like this. I wish you could send one over so I could sample. You did a fantastic job with your photo tutorial. The dish really sound delicious.


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