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Stuffed grape leaves with pomegranate seeds

Yalanci Sarma

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  • Author: Noreen
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10-15 grape leaves for 4 people 1x


Yalanci Sarma in yellow onion and long-grain rice.




  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • ⅓ cup long-grain rice
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 heaping handful cherry tomatoes (at least 4, but more preferred)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, crushed

Optional Herbs and Spices (Choose what you like)

  • 1 heaping handful of basil, chopped
  • 1 heaping handful of dill, chopped
  • 1 heaping handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 heaping handful of mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt

Grape Leaves

  • 1015 grape leaves, rinsed and blanched
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • At least 3 cups of water (or more depending on size of stockpot)


Stage 1 – Create your Yalanci Filling

  1. Take a saucepan over medium high heat and add your oil
  2. Once heated, add in your onions, and cook them for 3-5 minutes as they start to sweat and become translucent
  3. When the onions have cooked through slightly, add in your rice, tomato paste, water, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and any herbs & spices you choose
  4. Cook all ingredients together in the saucepan on this medium high heat for 5-7 minutes before reducing heat to a simmer
  5. Let the ingredients simmer for another ~10 mins. The goal here is to cook your filling’s ingredients lightly together but to leave the rice slightly uncooked
  6. After 10 minutes, take your saucepan of yalanci filling off the heat and set aside

Stage 2 – Blanche Your Grape Leaves

  1. As the filling mixture simmers together, bring a pot of water to a boil
  2. With the water boiling, add your grape leaves and let boil for 2-3 minutes
  3. After 2-3 minutes, take out grape leaves and drain. Cut off any remaining stems while the leaves are still soft

Stage 3 – Roll Your Grape Leaves and Create Yalanci Sarma

  1. Lay one of your blanched grape leaves on a flat surface like a cutting board with the shiny side up (or the veiny side of the leaf facing down)
  2. Place 1-1.5 teaspoons of your filling into the center of the leaf and shape the filling into a small ball shape
  3. To begin folding your yalanci sarma, take the bottom half of your grape leaf over the filling and tuck underneath on the other side (thereby enclosing the filling)
  4. Gently pull the grape leaf as far back as you can without ripping it. Once you have the filling snugly packed in, roll the leaf forward 1-2 times
  5. Fold the left and right sides of the grape leaf into the center to fully enclose the filling
  6. Continue rolling your yalanci sarma forward until the entire grape leaf has wrapped around the filling

Stage 4 – Cook your Yalanci Sarma

  1. Stack a small or medium-sized stockpot with your finished, finely rolled yalanci sarma. Be sure to tightly pack them together and create multiple layers of them stacked on one another. Pro Tip: If you have leftover or “unusable” grape leaves, line them on the bottom of the pot to buffer your yalanci from the direct heat of the stovetop
  2. Add the lemon juice and water into your stockpot to submerge your yalanci. Once submerged, you’ll want to place a small weight like a heavy plate or dish (something that can handle the heat of boiling liquid) on top of the yalanci to keep them in place
  3. Cover your stockpot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat
  4. Once boiling, reduce your heat to medium low, let the grape leaves simmer for 1 hour
  5. Following the hour of simmering, take the stockpot off the heat and begin to carefully extract your grape leaves
  6. Set your yalanci sarma aside to cool slightly, then enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 25 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Armenian