Fish-stuffed grape leaves

grape leaves with fish

It took a bit of convincing to get the lady I was working with to attempt this one; well, I could see her point. This is not done here, first off. My argument was: We’ll just cook fish simply, with veggies and a few spices, but instead of keeping the fillets whole, we’ll cut them in chunks, and feed more people. Turn it into a mezze item. She said: OK for this experiment, just not as a mezze, it will be the main course. Agreed.

1st-branch leaves

Leaves were pulled out of a freezer bag and blanched. (We don’t bother with brining)

2nd-stuff leaf w fish

Fish was seasoned and cut into chunks; leaves  their tip snapped off and  stuffed.

5step; stack them

The pot was lined with lots of onions, sliced tomatoes, celery leaves, parsley sprigs and some dill from our last foraging trip in the mountains.

INGREDIENTS: 4 servings

1 lb white fish fillets

1/2 lb grape leaves

4 tomatoes, sliced

4 onions, sliced

Salt, to taste

Herbs: Sprigs of parsley, celery leaves, dill leaves finely chopped (or dried dill, 2 Tbsp), etc

Spices to season the fish: 1 Tbsp sumac, salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper, 1/2 tsp coriander.

4 Lemons (more as needed), juiced

3/4 cup olive oil

 1. Blanch the leaves till tender (30 seconds in boiling water) and drain immediately. Cut off the tip; season the fish and cut into chunks; roll the leaves. Line the pot with the onions and tomatoes and herbs and stack with the stuffed grape leaves. 

2. Add 2 cups of water, the juice of the lemons and the olive oil; hold the stuffed leaves tight with a smaller plate. Bring to a gentle simmer, covering the pot; let the mixture bubble up for 40 minutes very gently; uncover. Cool a bit, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with additional lemon quarters.

grape leaves with fish


Beirut seashore scenes (retirees playing card games)

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  1. Posted August 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Very healthy, light and summery! This fish stuffing is great.



  2. Posted August 19, 2013 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    A very interesting combination, am too lazy to make wara2 3inab so am just going to be a total spoiled kid and ask my mom to make it for me. Thanks for being an inspiration xoxo

  3. Posted August 19, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Interesting!! I’ve never heard of fish in dolmas, sounds yum

  4. Mark Wisecarver
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Well gosh, as a Lebanese Sushi Chef I have to say this makes a lot of sense but having made both I’ve never combined the two like this. :)
    Sure why not, they’re both made with leaves of a sort anyway. Love the idea.
    I’m thinking one of the ingredients I use in mine would do great, thin slices of fresh avocado. Sticky rice, smoked Salmon and Avocado…I’m going to try it!

  5. Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    They are like little presents!

  6. Posted August 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had meat-stuffed grape leaves but never stuffed with fish – I love the idea!

  7. Posted August 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    This looks like one tasty labor of love!

  8. Elena
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Joumana – wonderful dish! tasty, juicy, very healthy.
    I prepared such stuffed grape leaves with mix of minced fish and amaranth grains , and bitter orange juice.

  9. Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    We stuff grape leaves with rice and ground meat, I have never attempted to stuff them with fish but I am sure they must taste equally delicious!

  10. Posted August 24, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    These look great! I’ve had sardines wrapped in vineleaves before, but never a fillet.

  11. Posted September 9, 2013 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    I love all these recipes with vine leaves you have been posting recently, I really want to try my hand at it.

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