Warak enab is a true Middle Eastern favourite, and it's not hard to see why – they're bursting with flavour, super versatile and full of goodies. We've been tucking into these leaf-y parcels for absolutely ages, and to this day our love of the warak enab shows no sign of slowing up, just look at how they whip them up over at Bait Misk, Leila and Café Blanc.
What's the deal?
Although they may seem simple on the outside, it's quite a lengthy process to rustle up some warak enab. Each vine leaf is stuffed with a mixture of boiled rice and spices such as cinnamon and allspice, laced with fresh mint and parsley, and topped off with a rich sauce made from tomatoes and green onion. They're then packed, rolled and sealed to keep all the flavour in.
These little parcels are left to simmer in a bath of olive oil mixed with zingy lemon juice – this makes them tart, but beautifully seasoned and moist. You'll often find them served up alongside nutty hummus, tahini or garlic mayonnaise, a selection of olives and some tangy pickles.
The origins of warak enab
As with many of our dishes, the origins of warak enab are a bit unclear, but they're most commonly associated with the Greeks, who claim to have taken the recipe to the Middle East and Turkey.
You'll find different versions across the continent, and it's not only vine leaves that are stuffed with the scrumptious rice filling that we all know and love. In other areas, a range of vegetables are cored and used to house that flavoursome rice-y goodness. Everything from peppers and courgettes to aubergines and boiled cabbage leaves are given the warak enab treatment.
Fancy some warak enab?
Warak enab are super versatile. They can be eaten hot or cold, as part of a mezze platter or solo, or you can tuck into them as a snack, appetiser or main.
They're served up the way they've been for centuries as part of the cold mezza over at Leila, with a few crisp lettuce leaves and slice of lemon. You'll find them on a similar menu section at Bait Misk too, where these traditional vine leaf parcels are stuffed with seasoned rice, tomato, mint and parsley.
They've whip up warak enab a few ways over at Café Blanc. Whereas you can get them in all their original glory, we love the Warak Enab Bel Laban, where you'll find our favourite vine leaf parcels with a creamy and fragrant garlic yoghurt, and topped with a fiery chilli sauce.
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