Yalanchi Sarma

Well this blog couldn’t be called "The Stuffed Grape Leaf" if it weren’t for recipes like this one. There’s something wonderfully addicting about the combination of flavors that go into Yalanchi Sarma.

Yalanchi Sarma on a plate

Although this particular type of Sarma is made with a lot of diced onions, the onion melds with all the other flavors happening in the recipe so that you don’t really notice a strong onion flavor.

Served chilled, Yalanchi Sarma is a great appetizer or accompaniment for many Armenian or Mediterranean dishes.

What Ingredients You Need to Make Yalanchi Sarma

Grape Leaves: Orlando California Grape Leaves or another reputable brand is recommended.  A jar of Orlando California Grape Leaves comes with approximately 75 grape leaves, but you may not be able to use them all.  If some pieces are not shaped well, you can tear pieces off of other irregularly-shaped leaves to fill in the gaps.

Onions: Although using a lot of onions, there is not a strong onion flavor in these sarma. White or yellow onions are recommended.

Rice: Calrose rice is typically used in this recipe.  Calrose is a type of short-grain white rice that softens nicely and absorbs all the wonderful flavors of Yalanchi Sarma.

Olive Oil: Extra-virgin olive oil provides the right flavor for this dish.

Tomato Sauce: Just a small can will do.  Some recipes call for a can of tomato paste and extra water, but I have found success with the small can of tomato sauce.

Lemon Juice: Look for large fresh lemons.  You will probably just need two lemons for 6 tablespoons of juice.

Pine Nuts: These are one pricey nut, but they impart a wonderful flavor to the dish that can't be missed.  Splurge on a big bag of these at Costco and store in your freezer to keep fresh.

Spices: Mint, paprika, salt and pepper. A few fresh leaves of mint can also be added to the pot when baking.

How to Make Yalanchi Sarma:

Rinse rice in a fine mesh colander and set aside. Chop onions or process them in a food processor until they are finely diced. Then sauté the onions until they begin to become translucent. Add salt and rice. Cover with hot water and simmer for 20 minutes.

Yalanchi Sarma ingredients
Cool for 5 minutes and add can of tomato sauce, minced parsley, pine nuts, paprika, pepper, sugar, dry mint and lemon juice.
Yalanchi Sarma IngredientsLine an oven-safe pot with a layer of grape leaves.

Line pan with grape leavesAssemble sarma. Flatten a single grape leaf on a plate or cutting board.  Snip the stem off the grape leaf. Be sure the thicker veins are on the outside. Put a heaping tablespoon of sarma filling in the middle.  Bring the bottom of the leaf up over the filling. Tuck in the sides and roll to the top. Here is a great video explaining how to roll grape leaves.

Yalanchi Sarma fillingStack the rolled sarma into the pan.  Add a layer of grape leaves over the top and add 1 cup of water and a few fresh mint leaves to the pan (optional). 

Roll grape leaves for yalanchi sarma
Plate on top of Yalanchi Sarma

Yalanchi Sarma on a plate

Yalanchi Sarma rolled neatly Note: This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I could earn a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

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