Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Zeytov Sarma

My Grandma's Sarma is one of my favorites! She makes sure to make it every Christmas! Sarma is grape leaf that has been stuffed with a rice mixture. There is also a version of Sarma that includes ground beef and is served warm, but this Zeytov (with oil) Sarma, and is served at room temperature. 

The older generation takes pride in their sarma rolling abilities. The tighter the sarma is rolled, the more impressive it is : ) 

  • Half a cup of chopped up parsley
  • 1.5 cups chopped onions (about 1.5 onions)
  • 3 cups of pearl rice (we used Calrose brand)
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • 1 tablespoons red pepper (Armenian Garmeer Buber)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons red pepper paste
  • 3 tablsepoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice

Preparing the Filling:

  • Put rice in colander to wash and then put aside
  • Pour 1 cup of light olive oil into a pot
  • Add 1.5 cups chopped onions to pot
  • Add ½ tablespoon of salt
  • Cook on the stove while mixing until the onions become translucent (it shouldn’t brown)
  • Add 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Add ½ teaspoon of all spice
  • Add 1 tablespoon red pepper (Armenian Garmeer Buber)
  • Add 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Add 3 cups of the rinsed rice
  • Add 3 full tablespoons red pepper paste
  • Add 3 full tablespoons tomato paste and mix the mixture
  • Add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Add ¾ cups of water
  • Let is cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until the water is all soaked up. Make sure the rice doesn’t start burning. The rice is not going to be fully cooked at this point.
  • Add the parsley and mix

Filling the Grape Leaves:

    • Take the grape leaves out of the jar and wash them. They will be stuck together which is okPut them in a bowl of hot water to soften them a bit. Remove them from the hot water and squeeze the leaves so that all the water is ringed out
    • Now it's time to fill each grape leaf. Take one and open it up with the veins of the leaf face up
    • Take a spoonful of the mixture and put it in the center of the leaf
    • take the 2 bottom ends of the leaf and fold them up and then the sides and then roll it up like a burrito. See video for technique
    • Continue this until all your grape leaves are complete

    Cooking the Grape Leaves:

    • Add a layer of loose grape leaves to the bottom of a pressure cooker to create a base so that your sarmas don't burn
    • start adding your sarmas to the pot by lining them up next to each other. When you finish one layer then start another layer but lining up the sarmas the opposite way. When complete add a few more loose leaves on top
    • In a seperate bowl add 3-4 cups of water, add 2 table spoon of lemon, 2 table spoon of light olive oil and ½ table spoon salt
    • Add this mixture into the pressure cooker until It has just covered the grape leaves
    • Close your pressure cooker and cook on Medium/High. After the pressure sound starts, Cook for 6 minutes and turn it off. Let it fully cool down before removing one by one.

      Tuesday, December 18, 2018


      Ghourabia is like an Armenian sugar cookie made with simple ingredients and a touch of Oghi (like Greek Ouzo). Typically you might see these in a form of a circle, but medz mama likes to make them in a shape of a "S". Every year she takes pride in making these for the Armenian Food Festival at St. Andrew Armenian Church.

      • 16oz container of Crisco
      • 2 cups powdered sugar
      • 4 cups flour
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1 tablespoon Oghi (Arak)
      Preparing the Dough:
      • Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl and set aside for later
      • In a separate bowl, empty the entire 16oz Crisco container into a large mixing bowl and start mixing the crisco with your hands and smoothing it out against the inside of the bowl to create a smooth consistency
      • Add 1 tablespoon of Oghi and continue to mix in 
      • Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time for a total of 2 cups and mix with your hands until incorporated
      • Add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
      • Add in 4 cups of flour one cup at a time to slowly incorporate. You will need to knead the dough until it all comes together. It will still feel a little sticky in the end but shouldn't feel too loose or overly sticky. The mixing process does take a while until it all comes together nicely. Make sure to clean the sides of the bowl with a spatula

      Forming the Cookies:
      • Take a little piece of the dough and squeeze so that it forms together. Then roll it super delicately with your finger tips into a long strip. If you push too hard the dough will crack and crumble. If you you do it very softly the dough should almost feel like its melting into its form
      • Then shape the strip into an "S" shape and put it on a cookie pan to bake. You don't have to spray the pan because the cookie is naturally oily
      • Once you have formed all the cookies cook it in the oven for about 20 minutes in a 300 degree oven. The cookie SHOULD NOT brown. It should keep it's white color.

      Wednesday, January 31, 2018

      Spinach Boureg

      Typically when you hear Boureg you think of phyllo dough or puff pastry that has been filled with cheese. With this dish the dough has been stuffed with spinach, walnuts, onions, and spices! This is a healthy dish and it's a good one to keep in the fridge to snack on. I actually prefer to eat it at room temperature rather than heating it up. It's so good! This recipe does leave you with a lot of extra dough so you can fill the remaining dough with cheese and make cheese boureg if you'd like!

      • 2 bunches of fresh spinach
      • 1/2 a yellow onion
      • 1/4 of a cup finely chopped unsalted raw walnuts
      • Salt
      • Pepper
      • Ground Red Pepper (Garmeer Buber)
      • 3 tablespoons Tahini
      • 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeeze lemon juice
      • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
      • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
      • 6 tablespoons Mazola corn oil
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1 1/2 cups water
      Prepare the Filling:
      • Chop the spinach into small thin strips and put it in a strainer
      • Mix in 1 teaspoon of salt to the spinach and let it stand for 10 minutes. this will help break down the spinach a bit
      • Run water over the spinach to wash off some of the salt
      • Squeeze the water out of the spinach and pat it dry and put it in a large mixing bowl

      • Chop half a yellow onion into thin strips that are about 1 inch long and put in a strainer
      • Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the onions and let it sit for 10 minutes. this will help break down the onions similarly to the spinach
      • Run water over the onions to wash off some of the salt
      • Squeeze the water of the onions and then add the onion to the mixing bowl that has the spinach

      • Add 1/4 of a cup finely chopped raw walnuts to the bowl
      • Add 3 tablespoons of tahini to the bowl
      • Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the bowl
      • Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the bowl
      • Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the bowl
      • Add 1 teaspoon of ground red pepper (garmeer beeber) to the bowl
      • Add 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper to the bowl
      • Mix all the ingredients together

      Prepare the Dough:
      • Add 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour to a mixing bowl
      • Add 6 tablespoons of Mazola corn oil and mix with your hands
      • Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder
      • Add 1 1/2 cups of water slowly while continuing to mix to bring the dough together
      • Continue to knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball
      • Cover the dough with saran wrap directly touching the dough in the bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes

      Assembling the Bouregs:
      • Separate the dough into 5 pieces and form them into balls
      • Start with 1 piece while the others stay covered so they don't dry out
      • Add flour to your board and start rolling out the piece of dough using a rolling pin until the dough becomes very thin. Continue to add flour as needed as it will help open up the dough easier

      • Use a small plate or cookie cutter thats about 4.5 inches in diameter to cut out circles
      • Add a spoonful of the spinach filling into the center of each circle
      • Bring 3 sides of the circle and pinch together on the edges and center to form a triangle
      • Continue this process with all your dough pieces (Note: you will mostly likely have a lot of left over dough so feel free to add cheese or anything else you like if you run out of the spinach filling)

      Cooking the Bouregs:
      • Align the bouregs on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray
      • Whisk 1 egg in a bowl and brush the tops of the boureg with the egg mixture. This will give it a nice shine after it cooks
      • Cook in the oven at 375 degrees until golden brown

      Monday, January 26, 2015


      Keghkeh is an Armenian cookie that is more on the savory side, most often eaten with Armenian coffee or tea. It's pretty much a staple in Armenian households. When I was little I always looked forward to dipping my Keghkeh into my grandmother's coffee every morning. Delicious! 

      Keghkeh can be made different ways. Some make it with white wine, others with cream cheese, but this recipe is my favorite way....with freshly squeezed orange juice! It adds the perfect touch of sweetness.


      Recipe makes about 45 cookies

      • 4-6 Oranges
      • 3 1/2 Cups Flour
      • 1 Cup Mazola Corn Oil 
      • 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds
      • 2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds
      • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
      • 1 Teaspoon Salt
      • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
      • 1 Teaspoon Mahlab (can be found at local middle eastern market)
      • 1 Egg

      Prepare the Dough:
      • Freshly squeeze 1 1/4 Cup of orange juice and add it to a small bowl
      • Add 1 Cup of the Mazola Corn Oil to the small bowl and mix

      • In a separate large bowl add 3 1/2 Cups flour, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 Teaspoon salt, 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder, 1 Teaspoon Mahlab, and 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds
      • Mix all the dry ingredient together
      • Add the oil and orange juice mixture to your dry ingredients and start mixing
      • You will need to knead the dough for a while until it all comes together. It should feel a little sticky 

      Assemble the Cookies:
      • Take a piece of the dough to fit in the palm of your hand
      • Start rolling the dough on your work surface to create a long strip
      • Braid the dough (if you find that your dough is cracking then add more orange juice to the dough and knead some more)

      • Spray 2 baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and assemble the cookies on the sheet
      • Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl and brush the mixture lightly on each of the cookies
      • Sprinkle white sesame seeds onto the cookies and press down a little so that they stick
      • Bake the cookies in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. You can either cook on convection or on the middle rack of your oven.

      Thursday, January 15, 2015

      Sou Boureg

      The best way to describe Sou Boureg is like an Armenian cheese lasagna. Traditional Italian lasagna is served as a main course where as Sou Boureg is served as a side dish. It is quite the delicacy - layers of thin dough and melted cheese with a crispy top...YUM! My grandmother makes this only for special occasions as it is quite a lot of work. She rolls out each of the 12 layers of dough herself and boils each one! Everyone I know goes crazy for this dish and I know you will to!

      • 6 Eggs
      • 4 Cups of Flour
      • 2 Cups of Grated Jack Cheese
      • 3 Cups of Grated Queso Blanco Cheese (Recommend Karoun Brand from Arabic Market)
      • 1 Stick of Butter
      • Corn Oil
      • Salt
      • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley

      Prepare the Cheese Mixture:
      • Grate 2 Cups of Jack Cheese and add it to a mixing bowl
      • Grate 3 Cups of Queso Cheese and add it to the bowl
      • Add 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Parsley to the bowl

      Prepare the Dough:
      • You will need a round pan big enough and short enough for you to be able to knead the dough in. 
      • Crack 6 Eggs into the pan and whisk
      • Add 1/2 Tablespoon of Salt to the pan
      • Add 4 Cups of Flour to the pan and whisk to start bringing the ingredients together
      • Knead the dough with your hands for a good amount of time until it all comes together

      Separate the Dough:
      • Separate the dough into 12 pieces and form them into a ball (if the dough sticks to your hands then add flour). Place each ball onto a flour dusted surface so they don't stick
      • Cover the dough balls with a moist towel and let it rest for 1 hour

      Roll out the Dough:
      • After the dough as rested for an hour it's time to roll out each piece
      • Check out the video below to see my grandma's technique - she recommends using a thin rolling pin
      • Flour your work surface and using a rolling pin start to roll out the first ball of dough (add flour as necessary so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin)
      • The dough sheet should be thin enough so that you can see-through and the same diameter as the round pan you will be cooking it in - ours was a 15.5 inch diameter
      • Continue the same process with the rest of the balls of dough. Make sure to cover the layers with a towel each time you finish one so that the dough doesn't dry out

      Boil Sheets of Dough & Assembly:
      • You will need 4 things for the next steps:
        • Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil (Grandma uses a big turkey roasting pan to fit the sheet of dough)
        •  Add some water and ice cubes to a large flat round pan
        • 2 Towels
        • Melt 1 stick of Butter in a bowl and mix with 3 Tablespoons of Mazola Corn Oil
        • Spray the bottom of the final round pan that you will be assembling the Sou Boureg in with non-stick cooking spray. We used a pan that was 15.5 inches in diameter
      • Cut all your dough sheets in half (this will make it easier to boil each sheet)
      • Take one half sheet of the dough and place into the pot of boiling water for about 7-8 seconds and then directly into the iced water pan
      • Remove the dough from the iced water and remove any excess water with your hand
      • Place onto one of the towels and dry off the top of the dough sheet with the second towel
      • Add the half sheet to the bottom of the pan to start assembling
      • Repeat this process with the second half to complete the circle
      • Once the circle is complete, brush some of the oil and butter mixture and then continue onto your second circle. You are going to repeat this process with brushing the oil and butter mixture in between until you have 4 circle layers added to the pan
      • Add half of your cheese mixture until it covers the whole circle
      • You then repeat the process of boiling and adding 4 more circles (don't forget to brush in between) and topping it with the rest of the cheese
      • Lastly, again you will repeat the same process and add your final 4 circles of dough
      • Brush the top again with the oil and butter mixture to complete the assembly
      • Before you cook Grandma recommends cutting the Sou Boureg in squares before cooking as it will be difficult once cooked. 
      • You then cook the Sou Boureg in a 375 degree oven in the middle rack until it is golden brown

      Thursday, December 4, 2014

      Mini Cheese Boureg

      Boureg is puff pastry that has been filled with middle eastern cheeses and baked in the oven. There are so many ways of making boureg, from the type of dough used and how it's shaped, to the mixture of cheeses you decide to put inside. This version of boureg is perfect for entertaining because it's quick and easy. Whenever my family has guests over, my grandmother and mom always make these bite sized bundles of yumminess! No Armenian party is complete without Boureg! Stay tuned for my favorite version of boureg which we will be making in the upcoming weeks - Sou Boureg!


      Recipe makes 40 bouregs

      Most of these ingredients can be found at your local middle eastern market
      • 1 Pack of puff pastry dough squares (if you can't find the squares then just purchase the sheets)
      • 1 Pack of feta cheese (preferred French feta)
      • 1 Pack of Ackawi Cheese 
      • Italian Parsley
      • Red Pepper Powder (Armenian: Garmeer Beuber)
      • 1 Egg 

      Thaw the Puff Pastry:
      • Before preparing the cheese mixture, remove your pastry dough from the packaging and place each square on your work surface to thaw

      Prepare the Cheese Mixture:

      • Shred 3 cups of the Ackawi cheese and add it to a mixing bowl
      • Crumble 3/4 of a cup of feta and add it to the mixing bowl
      • Fine Chop about 1 tablespoon of Italian parsley and add it to the mixing bowl
      • Add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper powder to the mixing bowl 
      • Mix all of the ingredients together in the bowl 

      Prepare the Puff Pastry:

        • After the puff pastry has thawed, cut each square into 4 pieces to create 2.5X2.5 inch squares. If you purchased puff pastry sheets then go ahead and cut as needed to achieve 2.5X2.5 inch squares

        Assemble the Boureg:

          • Take one of your squares and add the cheese mixture to the center
          • Take all 4 corners of the square and squeeze them together at the top. Then again take each of the 4 corners and bring them to the middle and press them down. Make sure you squeeze the dough well or else the cheese will explode during cooking. Continue to do this for all your squares. See video below on how to assemble: 

          Bake the Boureg:
          • Add non-stick spray to a baking sheet and assemble the bouregs. The bouregs will puff up so make sure to space them out
          • Crack an egg in a bowl and whisk with a fork. Brush the egg mixture on each boureg
          • Cook them in a 350 degree oven in the middle rack until they have puffed up and are golden brown. Enjoy!
          • (Tip: you can make the bouregs ahead of time and put them in your freezer. To avoid them sticking to one another, put the entire pan in the freezer and once each boureg has froze you can transfer them to a zip lock bag)

            Wednesday, November 19, 2014


            Mantee (pronounced mahn-tee) are little dumplings of baked dough that are stuffed with seasoned ground beef. They are served with tomato broth and topped with a garlic yogurt sauce. 

            This has to be one of my favorite Armenian dishes that my grandmother makes. It's always a treat when she makes this for the family as it is quite a long process to roll out your own dough and assemble the Mantee one by one into the pan. There's a lot of love that goes into making this dish and you can taste it through the amazing flavors.

            • 1 lb Ground Beef (5% Fat Preferable)
            • 1 Yellow Onion 
            • Black Pepper
            • Salt
            • Red Pepper Powder
            • Light Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
            • All Purpose Flour
            • 1 14.5oz Can Chicken Broth
            • Small Can Tomato Paste
            • Plain Yogurt

            Prepare the Meat:
            • Place the ground beef into a mixing bowl
            • Mince half the yellow onion into very small pieces and add to bowl
            • Add 1 teaspoon salt to bowl
            • Add 1/2 teaspoon pepper to bowl
            • Add 2 teaspoons red pepper powder to bowl
            • Mix all the ingredients with the ground beef until they are fully incorporated

             Prepare the Dough:
            • Add 4 cups of all purpose flour to a mixing bowl 
            • Add 1/8 teaspoon of salt to the bowl
            • Add 2 tablespoon of light oil to the bowl
            • Mix these ingredients together
            • Add about 1.5 cups water to the bowl and start mixing and kneading the dough until it comes together. You might have to add a bit more if needed. The dough should be dry and not too sticky or else it will stick when you roll out the dough
            • Once you have formed the dough cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the bowl for 10 minutes
            • After the dough has rested for 10 minutes place it on a working surface that you have dusted lightly with flour
            • Cut the dough into 4 pieces and then round them with your hands to make a ball
            • Take one piece and keep the rest of them covered so they don't dry out
            • Flour your working surface as well as the rolling pin so that the dough doesn't stick. If you find that its sticking just add more flour
            • Roll out the dough until it's thin enough that you start to see your finger through it (Tip: keep rotating the dough when you're rolling it out to keep the thickness consistent)
            • Cut the dough into 2 inch squares
              • Easiest way to do this is to fold the dough over a few times and cut into 2 inches pieces. Those then will become strips which you can lay on top of eachother and cut again in 2 inch pieces to form little squares
            • Repeat this process for the other 3 pieces of dough 
            Form the Mantee Pieces:
            • Take a pinch of the ground beef that you had seasoned and add it to the middle of the 2 inch square
            •  Lift up the sides and pinch them together to create a little pocket
            •  Repeat the process until you are done with all your pieces (Tip: lay out all the dough pieces and add the pinch of ground beef to all of them before pinching the dough together. Your fingers will stick to the dough and make it difficult to pinch it together if you go back and forth between the ground beef and the dough)
              Assemble the Mantee Pieces in the Pan:
            • Use a round pan that is about 16 inches in diameter (make sure it fits in your oven)
            • Add non-stick spray to the bottom of the pan (this will help with clean up later)
            • Then add a thin surface of light oil to coat the bottom of the pan 
            • Start assembling your Mantee in the pan by starting on the outside and placing them next to each other. Go around and around until the pan is complete
            • Brush light oil on top of the Mantee until each piece is coated, this will help crisp up the Mantee in the oven
            • Stick the Mantee pan in a 400 degree oven for about 50min-1hour until they are nicely browned
              Prepare the Broth:
            • While the Mantee is cooking you can now prepare the Broth and Yogurt Sauce
            • Add 1 can of chicken broth and 2 cups of water to a pan and bring to a light boil
            • Then Add 3 tablespoons tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
            • Mix until the tomato paste has dissolved and let it simmer
            Prepare the Yogurt:
            • Add 1.5 cups of plain yogurt to a bowl 
            • use a mortar and pestle to smash up 1 clove of garlic until it's smooth (Tip: add a drip of water to help create the smooth texture)
            • Add the garlic to the bowl of yogurt and mix well
            Serving the Mantee:
            • To serve the Mantee put as much as you want in a bowl and add the broth to cover some of the Mantee
            • Add a spoon of the yogurt on top and voila!