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This recipe was given to me by my upstairs neighbor. My daughter enjoyed it so much my neighbor always used to make extra just to give to her. Now that we have the receipe my daughter makes it herself.
- Mix all the ingredients except for the grape leaves together in a large bowl.
- Rinse the grape leaves well in hot water and leave them in a bowl of hot water while you work with each one individually.
- Place one leaf on your working surface, smooth side down.
- Take one teaspoon of rice filling (measure according to the size of the leaf) and place it in a finger shape in the middle of the leaf.
- Roll the outer edges towards but not quite reaching the middle.
- Roll from the bottom towards the top into a cigar shape and place in a large pot.
- Continue until all the leaves and filling has been used up, placed the filled leaves in the pot in a circular fashion, one level on top of another.
- Add water until slightly covering the leaf layers.
- Add a few drops of oil, a pinch of pepper and citric acid and 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste to the water.
- Boil covered until all the water has been absorbed.
- Remove from heat.
- Place a kitchen towel between the pot and cover, cover well and return to a small flame.
- Cook for an additional 1/2 hour.
- Serve hot or cold.