Last Saturday, along with two greater Los Angeles chefs, I judged a Yalanchi Sarma Contest at the Armenian Food Festival in Montebello, California. Five home cooks submitted their homemade vegan rice-stuffed grape leaves. Each offering was judged on presentation, texture, and taste. Choosing the winner wasn’t easy—they were all delicious. Having said that, we were unanimous in our judgement that good yalanchi has the following characteristics: the grape leaves should be tender, the rice stuffing is best if it is soft, almost mushy, and the taste must zing of lemon.
Congratulations to the winner!