My great-great-grandfather immigrated to America from Beirut in 1896, and though I’m not very Lebanese, my family has attempted to keep part of the Lebanese culture alive in our family by cooking Lebanese food for family events. We all pretend we are very Lebanese and we eat bologna and cabbage rolls and salata, and we love it.
Which is why I was very excited to see grape leaf rolls (called sarma or dorma) here and even more excited when Rabia promised to teach me how to make them. This is a gift I can bring back to America. Not only have I learned to cook anything at all besides spaghetti and bottled bolognese sauce — I’ve learned to cook sarma! So, in honor of all of the other not-so-smooth chefs out there like me, I’m including pictures and as many details as I can remember. Here’s to making mistakes the first few times I try this myself…
I’m not going to add pictures of the rolling process, because if I did, there would be about 20, and I think we have enough already for one blog post. Also, I’ve been told that my burrito-rolling skills are fantastic, and this is a skill I’ve taken to rolling sarma. I’m not sure how much “normal” people need to be directed in rolling. The basics are: roll the long part once (tuck in the “innards”), then a side, side tuck to close it up, and then roll, roll, roll until you have a little sarmak, or roll, like Melike’s…
…and not like mine.
Rabia then laid a layer of leaves in a pot, placed the rolls over them, filling the pot, squeezed a lemon over the rolls, pressed them down tight (so they won’t unravel during cooking), and then filled the pot with water, just so it reached the middle of the top layer of rolls.
Then we had this:
I’ll be starting my I-think-this-is-how-you-do-it cookbook soon!