Warak Enab – Middle Eastern Stuffed Vine Leaves


An absolute favourite of many, not just middle easterners! This is a little different to the traditional Dolma. My Syrian Khale (aunt) always makes this and a bunch of us girls would be all over the serving dish and eat until we couldn’t breath. I cannot put it into words how great this recipe is because I simply wouldn’t do it justice. The best thing to do is try it for yourself.

I would say this is a very authentic recipe, I have only made a few tweaks in terms of increasing the spices, adding more garlic and using onions and potatoes when layering the rolls. Theres also mince meat inside the rolls which doesn’t make this vegetarian, but if you choose to make it vegetarian all you would have to do is remove the meat and cook with just water or even better, stock!

The recipe to making warak enab is simple, but I would say that the technique and the little tips and tricks is what makes or breaks it. Techniques Like rolling each of them for example; or how you pour water in the pot, placing a heavy plate on top of the rolls so that they don’t swim around and become undone, as well as having the right amount of filling in the rolls so that they are not overfilled and break.

Warak Enab – Middle Eastern Stuffed Vine Leaves

Prep Time 90 min Cook Time 90 min Rest Time 5 min Total Time 3 hrs 5 mins Servings: 10



  1. Start by removing the leaves from the packaging, soak in warm tap water and slowly peel them apart.

  2. Fill a medium pot with boiling water and allow the leaves to boil in there for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately replace the boiling water with cold tap water. Allow to sit for a minute before draining the leaves, they are now ready to roll.

  3. Wash the rice and soak in boiling water for 10 minutes (do not parboil or leave it longer), drain the rice and mix with meat, garlic, seasoning, ghee and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Combine the mixture, and the filling is ready.

  4. Start layering the pot - at the very base place one layer of the onion slices, followed by the potato and then the chunks of lamb on bone.

  5. Start rolling - take off the stem of the leaf and place the side with the veins on the inside of the roll where the mixture will be placed.

  6. For each roll take less than half a tea spoon of the mixture, place it in the centre and make a line, fold each side of the leaf in and roll the leaf until there's no leaf left and it seals together. Place the rolls tightly alongside one another in the pot on top of the lamb chunks until the pot has filled to the top. Leave a 3cm gap at the top of the pot.

  7. Place the pot on the smallest fire on the cooker and have the heat on medium, drizzle the rest of the olive oil all over the rolls (maybe even some extra be generous with this) place a heavy plate on top of the rolls and place a large cereal bowl filled with water on top of the plate (this is just to create pressure and stop the rolls from floating around in the pot. Boil water and pour enough water, slowly, into the pot until the vine leaves are covered.

  8. Wait for the water covering the rolls to start boiling, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, remove the cereal bowl (leave the plate in the pot until the very end, it is important you do not remove this) and place a lid on the pot.

  9. Total cooking time in the pot will be around 2 hours. When the water starts to dry, check the rolls if the leaves are soft to the bite and the rice is cooked then switch off the heat, remove the plate and squeeze a whole lemon all over the rolls.

  10. If they are not cooked add 1 cup of water at a time until it cooks. keep a close eye as you don't want this to burn and ruin your hard work.

  11. If the rolls cook before all the water is dried up, you can gently tilt the pot while creating a little gap with the lid and drain the liquid, don't throw this away as it is very delicious, feel free to drink it or pour over the Yabrak on your plate.

Did you make this recipe?

hello and welcome 

hello and welcome 


Nelly Babazadeh

Content Creator

I'm Nelly, the recipes I share here are inspired by the people, cultures and places beloved to me. Peanutswirls represents my love for food, cooking and hosting. I hope to share with you a taste of the Middle East influnced by my upbringing in the West.

I can't wait to see what we cook together.

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