The base of this meal is preparing the stuffing made of rice, herbs (parsley, coriander and dill), semi cooked tomato sauce and a pinch Of cinnamon and allspice. Once this filling is ready, you can use any vegetable of your choice. In Egypt we use cored zucchini, cored eggplants, cabbage leaves, grapevine leaves, or small bell peppers.
1 cup short grain rice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large onion sliced in thick slices
½ cup tomato sauce
Half a bunch of the following: parsley, coriander and dill
½ ts cinnamon
¼ ts allspice
1 ½ tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and pepper to taste
One serving of any of the following vegetables (use more than one if you like but adjust quantities to match the rice):
8 pieces of zucchini- Choose pieces that are slightly fat and short or
8 pieces of eggplant or
20 cabbage leaves (blanched and middle rib removed)
20 vine leaves (blanched)
Sauté chopped onions in 1 tbsp oil for 3 minutes or until wilted and yellow. Add the tomato sauce, salt, pepper and spices. Simmer for 3 minutes.
Rinse the rice thoroughly and drain. Finely chop the herbs. Add the prepared tomato sauce and herbs to the rice and mix well.
Core your veggies. Try to remove most of the core leaving only a thin outer shell, taking care not to break or pierce the vegetables.
If you are using eggplant, put each piece in a bowl of water as you core them one by one to avoid the eggplant darkening in color.
If you are using leafy vegetables blanch and cool the leaves.
Using a teaspoon, stuff each vegetable with the rice mixture pushing down the rice as you add more with handle of the spoon. Leave ½ inch unstuffed to allow the rice to expand when cooked.
Add ½ tbsp. oil to the bottom of a non stick pot. Arrange the onion slices to cover the bottom. This is to avoid the bottoms of the vegetables being charred if the water dries out and it also gives a nice flavor to the meal.
Arrange the stuffed vegetables on top of the onions in a slightly standing position to avoid the rice spilling out.