Wara’ Dawali (Stuffed Grape Leaves)


Wara’ Dawali is a labor of love—countless hours spent preparing & rolling, followed by a few more hours of cooking on the stove, only for it to be devoured in minutes. The combination of tangy grape leaves stuffed with perfectly seasoned rice and beef is unmatched.

Wara’ Dawali (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 jar grape leaves (or 1 lb fresh grape leaves)
  • 1 ½ lb beef (diced)
  • 2 cup egyptian rice
  • 4 tomatoes (sliced)
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt (divided into 2 tsp + 2 tsp + 2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground all spice
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb lamb chops


Prep Rice

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine rice with 2 tsp salt and soak in hot water for 30 minutes
  • Rinse out the rice using a strainer and set aside

Prep Grape Leaves

  • Fill a medium-sized pot ⅔ of the way with water and let it come to a boil
  • Drain and rinse the grape leaves and add to the boiling pot of water for about 5 minutes (boil for a few minutes longer if using fresh grape leaves)
  • Drain the grape leaves from the pot of water using a colander

Prep Stuffing

  • Combine the black pepper, ground allspice, turmeric, and 2 tsp of salt in a small bowl
  • In a large bowl, combine the rice, beef, spice mix and vegetable oil

Stuffing the Grape Leaves

  • Place a grape leaf backside up (dull side facing you), on a flat clean surface
  • Using a knife, cut off the grape leaf's stem and add ½ a tbs of the stuffing right on top of the stem of the leaf
  • Roll the leaf upward once, covering the stuffing, before folding it in from the left and the right
  • Continue to roll tightly until you've rolled up the entire leaf
  • Repeat with the remaining grape leaves

Assembling & Cooking the Wara' Dawali

  • Boil about 10 cups of water in a teapot or water boiler
  • Layer the lamb chops at the bottom of a large pot
  • Place a layer of sliced tomatoes on top of the lamb chops
  • Layer the stuffed grape leaves, seam side down, in the pot
  • Place the remaining sliced tomatoes in between and on top of the layers of stuffed grape leaves
  • In a large glass, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, and 2 tsp of salt and pour the mixture over the grape leaves
  • Add around 4 cups of boiling water to the pot, or until the water is just beneat the top layer of stuffed grape leaves
  • Place the pot on the stove on high heat until the water reaches a boil
  • Lower the stovetop heat to low heat, cover the grape leaves with a plate (backside up), and cover the pot with a lid
  • Check on the water level every 45 minutes or so, ensuring that the water level remains just below the top layer of grape leaves and adding more boiling water as needed
  • Cook for a total of 2.5 to 3 hours
  • Prior to serving, flip the pot over onto a large tray and enjoy with a side of plain full fat yogurt


  1. Make sure to utilize a large pot when cooking the grape leaves, as the rice will expand during the cooking process
  2. I usually prepare and roll the grape leaves the night before I cook them—I store the stuffed grape leaves in an airtight container in the fridge and layer in a pot prior to cooking the following day 


The smell of ma’mool baking in the oven triggers nostalgia—of the evenings before Eid when excitement so deep…

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