You won’t find many tables in Tokat and Amasya without stuffed vine leaves. It is the symbol of neighbourly relations and solidarity.

It is a tradition among local women in Anatolia to meet up for a session of rolling stuffed vine leaves for the wedding feast. Helping hands are plenty in the bride’s house; pots simmer with delicious food for the hungry guests invited to the wedding. Fresh vine leaves are stuffed with several legumes from broad beans to haricot beans. A layer of meat cuts on the bone covers the bottom of the pot before carefully lining the stuffed leaves on top. A sauce made of tomato paste and onion is added once the meat is cooked. Ample time is needed to simmer adequately before consumption.

I only made some minor adjustments to this legendary meal of my hometown. I went for the version served with yoghurt (boranlı). As for the name: Vegetarian stuffed vine leaves.

Food and table gatherings are fundamental aspects of Anatolian culture. Cooperation and transfer of knowledge are the essence of preparing for such celebrations. This is rewarded with exquisite food and pleasant conversations at the table. The stories of the elders and the exchange of ideas can bring on a sense of euphoria. I try to collect these treasures as much as possible and limit my intervention in our culinary heritage. I prefer to keep to original recipes so as not to hinder these conversations and do my share in keeping our traditions alive.

Bon appetit!