Balkan Recipes: Japrak Recipe (Stuffed Vine Leaves)

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Post author Vedran

Written by our local expert Vedran

Vedran is a total food lover from Croatia. He creates recipes from his kitchen in Zagreb using fresh produce from his garden.

Yaprak dolma, yaprak sarma or just simply yaprak are originally a Turkish dish. Yaprak is a Turkish word meaning “leaf,” so it basically means it’s a stuffed leaf.

In Croatia, we usually make sarma with stuffed sour cabbage leaves. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can find two different types of yapraks; in Bosnia, mainly it’s made with vine leaves, and in Herzegovina with collard. Both are very much delicious.

Today I have made this Turkish/Bosnian version with vine leaves for you, and I am confident that you’ll love them as much as we do.

You can use leaves that are either fresh or conserved; it just depends on which type you can find at your closes continental food store.

How To Make Yaprak Recipe In English

Now, I have to say that if you can find fresh, young fresh, young leaves – do not hesitate – we find these to be our preferred type (as do many others). And, if you manage to collect enough fresh leaves, you can preserve them for yourself.

To preserve the leaves at home, you simply wash them, put together around ten leaves in a jar and cover them with a boiled, salted water solution, or you can even just simply freeze them in an airtight container.

Originally the meat used for this dish was beef or lamb, but you can use whichever meat is your favorite.

How To Make Yaprak Recipe In English

How To Make Japrak Recipe In English

Japrak Recipe (Stuffed Vine Leaves)

Yaprak dolma, yaprak sarma or just simply yaprak are originally a Turkish dish. Yaprak is a Turkish word meaning “leaf” so it basically means it’s a stuffed leaf and in this easy-to-make Balkan recipe we show you how to make stuffed vine leaves.


  • 40 vine leaves
  • 400 g minced beef meat
  • 1 red/purple onion
  • 100 g rice
  • salt, pepper and red paprika
  • 500ml tomato sauce
  • 200ml water


  • Wash out the vine leaves and cut off the stem
  • Season the minced meat and mix it with the rice and finely chopped onion
  • Place one vine leaf on a flat surface with the inner side turned up
  • Use a spoonful of the meat and rice mixture, shaped into a cylindrical form, and place it onto the edge of the leaf
  • Fold in both sides of the leaf and then fold up the bottom of the leaf over the mixture, then roll the leaf upwards, sealing in the mixture
  • You will end up with little “vine leaves cigars.”
  • Tightly pack the rolls in a deep saucepan (this will help them to stay closed during cooking)
  • Cover the rolls with a mixture of tomato sauce and water
  • Set a plate on the top so the rolls  – this will ensure that they do not move during cooking and unwrap
  • Cook for around 30 minutes on a medium heat
  • Serve these easy-to-make stuffed vine leaves served with a dollop of sour cream while hot.
How To Make Japrak Recipe In English


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