In the kitchen, we have been making Stuffed Vine Leaves, or as the Cypriots call it: Koupepia. Previously, I posted a video of my family making them here.
Making Koupepia is fairly easy. As you may know, if I can do it with ease then I am pleased. It’s even easier and more fun when you have help!
The trickiest part may just be sourcing the vine leaves. They can usually be found at a greek or mediterannean market. I buy them at Titan, a large greek grocery in Astoria, Queens in the USA. The brand pictured is not the kind I use, but this is widely available, and can be found on their online store ( grape leaves and rice). We do have a fairly good greek market in Baltimore, however we like to stop in at Titan whenever we find ourselves visiting family in Queens, NY. The reason being twofold: 1. their awesome bakery and 2. they carry a wide variety of Cypriot goods as well as Greek, which are hard to find elsewhere.
To make the Koupepia:
- Blanch the vine leaves and drain.
- Make the stuffing: combine minced meat, rice, pepper, cinnamon, mint, parsley, onion, lemon juice, chicken stock., tomato puree, grated tomatoes (I use diced), and 3-4 tbsp oil (see ingredients below)
- Stuff the leaves. Lay leaf smoothside down, put 1-2 tsp mixture of stuffing on leaf, fold stem and sides over stuffing, squeeze lightly to keep it in.
- Line the bottom of your pan. The book suggests 1-2 sliced tomatoes, I do this or I just use leftover broken leaves
- Place stuffed vine leaves in the pot in rows
- Pour over the oil and 1/2 glass of water (My husband told me to use as much oil as called for, I often complain there is too much oil and use less)
- Place a plate (make sure it’s heat resistant such as china) on top of the stuffed vine leaves to press them. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes. Add additional water if needed.
Ingredients: *(see note below)
- 35-40 large fresh vine leaves
- 600-650 g minced pork
- 1/2 glass rice, washed and drained (uncooked)
- 3-4 tbsp oil
- ground cinnamon and pepper
- dried mint
- parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp onion, coarsely grated
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 chicken stock cubes, dissolved in 1/2 glass boiling water
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
- 3/4 – 1 glass ripe tomatoes, grated
- 1-2 ripe tomatoes, sliced (optional)
- 4-5 tbsp oil
*NOTE: I loosely follow the recipe in the book Cyprus Cooking for Friends! by Sandra Lysandrou. I say loosely because I can never follow anything consistently and also because the book can be a bit vague. Also, she uses celsius and british terms like aubergine, rocket and courgette. Which is not really a problem. But really, it’s because of this –