Fun story behind this recipe:
This recipe is not mine, I just liked it so much and it's a very good one, indeed. Grape Leaves Dolma is a side dish (and sometimes, main dish) cooked in many different places, and is also a favorite dish in Iran. There's a good entry in Wikipeida:
30-40 grape leaves ( you will need extra leaves to line the bottom of the pot )
1 cup rice
1 medium onion
1/2 cup yellow split peas
1/2 cup lemon juice or vinegar
2-3 tablespoons sugar
250-500 grams ground beef
100-250 grams sabzi (herbs), Fresh or dry (or combination), these include parsley, cilantro, green onions, dill, and small amount of Tarragon; can also include mint and savory leaves
Salt, pepper, Turmeric
Prepare the stuffing/mixture:
Chop up the onion and fry it in a pan. Add the meat once the onion is golden in color and fry the meat. Add about half a cup of water and allow the meat to cook. You will add salt, pepper, and turmeric to the meat as well. Allow the meat to cook for at least 20. Once the meat is cooked set it aside and allow it to cool.
Heat up water in a pot and boil the yellow split peas for approximately 15 minutes. Then drain and set them aside to cool.
Heat up water in a pot and bring the rice to a boil. Drain the rice and set aside to cool.
Clean any fresh herbs and chop them up slightly using a food processor (or a knife). If using any dry herbs make sure to use less than you would if using fresh herbs. Certain herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and green onions you can use more of, while you would use less tarragon and dill.
Mix all these ingredients together in a bowl, add salt and pepper for taste.
Wrap the Grape Leaves:
If you are using fresh Grape Leaves you will need to boil them in water for a bit so that they soft. If using Grape Leaves in a jar bought from the store make sure you wash them well so they have no preservatives left on them (it will ruin the flavor if left on the leaves).
Take the leaves one at a time and lay them on a surface or cutting board. Take some of the mixture and place it on the leaf and then begin wrapping the leaf.
Add oil to the pot you plan on using to cook the Dolmeh in. Take a few leaves that aren't wrapped and place them on the bottom of the pot. Take all the prepared Dolmeh’s and place them on the bottom of the pot leaving no spaces.
Liquid mixture to pour over the Dolmeh’s:
Take the 1/3 cup of lemon juice (or vinegar) and add the sugar to it. Add about a cup of water to the juice/sugar and stir everything together. Once the sugar has dissolved pour the contents all over the Dolmeh’s in the pot.
Cooking the Dolmeh’s:
Place a plate (or something else thats heavy) over the Dolmeh’s to make sure they dont move around. Turn the burner on to medium-low heat and place the lid on top of the pot. Allow the Stuffed Grape Leaves to cook for 30-45 minutes.
Serve as a appetizer or side dish for some other Persian dish. Tastes amazing.