My Mother, my Father's sister and sisters in law, my cousins and Metzmama (that's Armenian for Grandmother) and I am guessing her mother and mother's mother many generations back made this recipe the exact same way. I have never seen another recipe for stuffed grape leaves quite like this one and it is by far my favorite.
Sarma (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
1 large jar of grape leaves (approximately 100 leaves)
2 large onions thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 15 oz can of chick peas (rinsed and drained)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry long grain rice
3/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2-3/4 tsp allspice (ground)
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Water- to cover (or Sumac Tea)
Juice of 3-4 lemons
Rinse grape leaves in a colander and drain well. Over a medium heat olive oil and add onions. Cook until very tender but not browned. Turn off heat, add the chick peas, tomato paste, parsley, walnuts, rice, allspice, paprika, salt and pepper and mix until incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.
Layer the stuffed grape leaves in a large pan (a dutch oven works well). Fill with water or sumac tea until just covered. Add lemon juice (use more or less according to your taste). Place on the stove and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer, cover and continue to cook for about two hours until the rice is cooked.
Cool and serve at room temperature with thin lemon slices or wedges.