Rock in pot (Tips in the Lebanese kitchen)

February 5, 2014  • 

I thought it might be of interest to share some of the tips I have learned while cooking Lebanese dishes; some of them are recent, like this one. I had always been told to insert a smaller dish (inverted) over the stuffed grape leaves or zucchinis (or any kind of stuffed veggies for that matter). In Beirut, an experienced cook I know adds Β yet another heavy object on top of the plate (in this case, a beach rock); the idea is to keep the delicate stuffed leaves in place while the broth is simmering.Β 

hold in place w-rock

Comments

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  1. tom | tall clover says:

    Joumana, this is so coincidental. My Mom I were just talking about making some cabbage rolls. Life is good when I see the plate in the pot, and now I’ll just have to add the rock. Nice touch. Warm regards, Tom

  2. Nicole says:

    I love it! This made me think of a book that I read to my son “La Soupe au Caillou”

    • Joumana says:

      @Nicole: I know that book! my kids were enrolled in a French school when they were little and that was one of the stories they read.

  3. marlene says:

    hello !!
    wanted to say that I love your blog !
    great recipes and amazing photos!
    do you mind if I ask you a question ? what are your kids names ?
    i noticed that you mention them in many recipes ! i’m sure that they appreciate your food ! πŸ™‚
    best regards

  4. Susan says:

    What a great idea, Joumana. It makes me want to make some cabbage roils now πŸ™‚

  5. marlene says:

    it’s my pleasure ! πŸ™‚ are you in lebanon ? have a great evening

  6. perla says:

    bonsoir !!
    je vous ecris pour vous vous dire a quel point je suis heureuse d’avoir trouve votre blog . il m’est INDISPENSABLE . en fait j’ai 19 ans et je fais mes etudes en france ( je suis libanaise) et n’ayant aucune experience culinaire , j’ai besoin de recettes bien redigees avec toutes les explications necessaires , et comme par hasard , je suis tombee sur vos recettes!! et depuis, cuisiner ne me fait plus “peur”.
    vos recettes me rappellent la cuisine de ma mere … merci merci et re-mercie :)))) je vous embrasse de tout coeur . a bientot .

  7. perla says:

    c’est exactement ca , “une maman virtuelle” . je vous felicite , je pense qu’on est nombreux a etre dans le meme cas ! on vous doit un grand merci !

  8. Chris at Hye Thyme C says:

    My only concern with the rock would be that you have to know what kind of rock you’re dealing with. I learned the hard way at summer camp when I was a kid that some rocks explode when you heat them. We were trying to build a sauna/steam room (tent), and when we heated the rocks and poured water over them to create the steam, a few of them exploded. Some types of stone are more pourous than others, so when those little pockets of air heat up, they expand and can pop. If you’re not sure, you could also fill a bowl with water and set that on top of your plate. I do that sometimes too. πŸ™‚

    • Joumana says:

      @Chris at Hye Thyme C: I have not thought of the rock possibly exploding! thanks for pointing it out. the ones we used have not had this happen and get washed and stored in the cupboard for use year after year.

  9. InMyBibi'sKitchen says:

    The reason I avoid making grape-leaves is because of this teachnique, it just makes me so nervous that the grape-leaves will get squished under the “rock” (I use a stone bowl) or that my “rock” is not heavy enough and the grape-leaves will “explode.” This has always drived me crazy, I then started using a pressure-cooker but that is not as reliable. I have also baked grape-leaves is that common in Lebanon? I know it is not authentic and doesn’t give the same moist flavor but I feel it is much less-stress!

    • Joumana says:

      @InMyBibi’sKitchen: You can also just place a smaller plate on the leaves or dolmas; I have always stayed away from pressure cooker for the same reason (I worry it will explode in my face) even though it is a popular appliance with lebanese cooks and in my parents home they still use it for many dishes. I have never heard of baking grape leaves; the key to good stuffed dolmas is the moistness and I would worry that the oven would dry them out; still it is always worth experimenting!

  10. James Najeeb Moghabghab says:

    Your tips are great. They remind me of my soto & Mom teaching me how to cook Lebanese food. And by the way, I still use a stone on top of any stove top cooking, with a plate first.

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