Recipe – Lebanon

The Recipe for “Grape Leaves”

Subject’s Analysis:

“It was passed down to my grandmother from her nanny. Her nanny is Lebanesse and only speaks Arabic. It’s made mostly for family gatherings for any big family occasion or holiday. The outer leaves are actual grape leaves. They are stuffed with lamb and beef. They are mixed with some spice which is called (tries to spell it) “Burroh” I think its spelled. There is also a lemony butter sauce that is poured over them as well. They are usually stuffed with ground meat that is put into the leaves and rolled. Then you place the rolled leaves into a pot with a little water, and steam them on the stove. After they are steamed, they lemony butter sauce is poured over them. They are also good cold.”

She said, “Me I love them, they’re my favorite food really. I feel that it’s really authentic. I’ve also heard of them being Greek but they are stuffed with something else.”

Collector’s Analysis:

I think that personally, this dish sounds delicious. It may have been an instance of monogenesis, and diffusion as both Lebanon and Greece are in the Mediterranean. So it is very possible that the recipes are similar, and that they are stuffed with different meats. Maybe they were stuffed with different meat based solely on what was available in the area that the food was being prepared. Both places had grape leaves so the recipe was easy to make. I hypothesize that once people became accustomed to cooking them with certain meat it is quite possible that the geographical differences in the recipes stuck.

I did some research on the origin of these two different recipes. has an article on Dolmathakia me Kima or stuffed grape leaves with meat and rice. has a recipe listed as Lebanese Grape Leaves. Both dishes are served with sides of rice, and as well are used as an appetizer. In addition both dishes include the use of lemon juice as an important seasoning that is added. The main difference however is the meat that the two separate dishes are stuffed with. The Lebanese version is stuffed with ground lamb, and the Greek version is stuffed with ground beef. In addition, on the online versions, there are interesting spices that are listed. In the Greek version a tablespoon of fresh mint is supposed to be used, while in the Lebanese version, a half tablespoon of cinnamon is used.  Considering the similarities, this dish could have very likely been a product of monogenesis and diffusion throughout the Mediterranean. “Lebanese Grape Leaves.” Dec. 2007.  31 Apr. 2008 <>.

Gaifyllia, Nancy. “Dolmathakia me Kima: Stuffed Grape Leaves with Meat & Rice.” Jan. 2008.  31 Apr. 2008 <>.