Grapevines grow throughout the Arab world. While the grapes are picked for eating and wine-making, the leaves are also picked; stuffed with rice, herbs, lemon and oil ; and cooked. Since grapes also grow in North America, many of us went grapeleaf-picking with our grandmothers. The image of that plant, a tenacious survivor, tangling and weaving its way wherever it finds an opening, fits well with this section, since our identities are not clear-cut or easily defined. They are complex and layered, tangled and contradictory.
1 c. canned garbanzo beans (or if dry, soak overnight and remove skin)
1 c. olive oil
2 c. rice, washed
2 bunches parsley, leaves only, washed and chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
dash of cayenne
1 large can whole tomatoes, chopped, or 1 1.5 pounds
fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 jar grape leaves
2 c. water
lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste
Mix all of the above ingredients together except the last four. Rinse and roll out grapeleaves, and stuff with a spoonful of the above mixture. Roll leaves tightly, folding ends of leaf before the final roll. Arrange leaves side by side and on top of each other in covered kettle, adding any leftover juices from the stuffing mix. Over top of grape leaves, pour canned or fresh tomatoes and their juices with 2 cups water. Steam over low flame until done (approx. 1 1.5 hours). When cooked, add a little lemon juice to taste. Serves 10.
Source : Therese Saliba