Aprah Du Zayto – Assyrian Stuffed Grape Leaves

In Cookbook, Food Around The World, Gluten-free by Lisa Soldo-JohnsonLeave a Comment

Most people know stuffed grape leaves by the name Dolmas.  While many cultures and families across the globe create their version of this Mediterranean favorite, mine happens to be a recipe from Assyria. I learned to make Aprah Du Zayto from my friend Suheyla – and believe me they are one of the best!

Everyone who eats a Suheyla’s table will tell you that Aprah Du Zayto is one of her specialties. When Suheyla’s stuffed grape leaves make an appearance at any gathering, it’s not long before they are gone.

I especially love this vegetarian version of Assyrian stuffed grape leaves. She uses simple, uncomplicated ingredients like onions, rice, and tomato paste infused with herbs and spices tucked tightly into tender, juicy grape leaves to create a delightful appetizer or side dish.

Making stuffed grape leaves does take a bit of time and patience.  In this recipe, I have described the best way to fill and roll each leaf for the best results.  I recommend making a double batch of the filling and using all of the grape leaves in the jar.  Once they are cooked, you can easily freeze the ones you don’t eat within a few days. They are good in the freezer for up to six months.  To thaw, just lay them on a plate at room temperature in the morning and by the afternoon you’ll have delicious Aprah Du Zayto to serve for any occasion!

Print Recipe
Aprah Du Zayto - Assyrian Stuffed Grape Leaves Yum
This vegetarian version of Assyrian stuffed grape leaves uses simple, uncomplicated ingredients like onions, rice, and tomato paste infused with herbs and spices tucked tightly into tender, juicy grape leaves to create a delightful appetizer or side dish.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, tomato paste, sugar, allspice, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the rice, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir frequently to prevent from sticking to pan.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and remove from the heat to cool.
  5. In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Remove half of the grape leaves from the container and gently rinse under cold water to remove some of the salt. Gently unroll the leaves and carefully place them in boiling water for 2 minutes.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove the grape leaves from the water and place them in a colander to drain and cool. Gently separate leaves one-by-one without breaking them. Drape around the edges of the colander until you are ready to use.
  7. Cut off stems and place a vine leaf on a cutting board with the rough side up and the stem end facing you. Spoon one tablespoon of rice mixture across the leaf towards the stem end (adding a little more if leaf is large). Fold stem end over rice mixture and begin to roll slightly. Fold in sides of leaves to close rice into leaf, then begin rolling tightly to the top of leaf, making sure the sides stay tucked in. Repeat this process until all the leaves are filled.
  8. In a medium non-stick pot, place a layer of grape leaves on the bottom of the pot before adding the Aprah to prevent any burning that may occur during the cooking process. Set (Aprah) rolled grape leaves on the bottom of the pot, layering them on top of each other until they are all in the pot. Pour 1 1/2 cup water over grape leaves.
  9. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the pot and place it over the grape leaves. Set a plate on top of the paper to give it weight during the cooking process.
  10. Cover the pot and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Be sure to add more water if it dries out during the cooking process.
  11. When Aprah is tender, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool in its covered pot for 2 hours or more.
  12. Arrange Aprah on a serving platter and squeeze half of the lemon juice over the grape leaves. Slice the remaining lemon half and use to decorate the platter. Serve Aprah Du Zayto at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

The stuffing measurements will typically fill half of the leaves in
a 16 ounce jar. You can double the stuffing recipe if you prefer to use all the leaves at one time or refrigerate remaining leaves in the container for up to 2 weeks.
Serve at room temperature as an appetizer or a side dish.

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