Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Bosnia with the exquisite dish known as "Japrak s Kiselim Zeljem." This traditional Bosnian recipe combines the art of wrapping tender grape leaves around a flavorful mixture of minced meat and rice, creating little parcels of savory delight. What sets this dish apart is the delightful pairing with kiseli kupus, or fermented cabbage, infusing each bite with a tangy and unique flavor profile.

As we delve into the preparation of Japrak s Kiselim Zeljem, you'll discover the rich heritage and cultural significance embedded in every step of the cooking process. Join us in unlocking the secrets of this time-honored Bosnian recipe, where the harmonious blend of ingredients and meticulous techniques come together to create a dish that is both comforting and soul-satisfying. Whether you're an enthusiast of international cuisines or simply looking to expand your culinary repertoire, this Bosnian gem promises to tantalize your taste buds and transport you to the picturesque landscapes of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Here's a simple recipe for Bosnia's Japrak s Kiselim Zeljem:


For the Grape Leaves:

  • 1 jar of grape leaves in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, washed
  • 1/2 kg minced meat (beef and pork mixture works well)
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water

For the Kiseli Kupus (Fermented Cabbage):

  • 1 medium-sized head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon salt

For Cooking:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water or beef broth


Preparing the Grape Leaves:

Prepare the Grape Leaves: Carefully separate the grape leaves, and trim any tough stems. Rinse them thoroughly and set aside.

Prepare the Filling: In a mixing bowl, combine minced meat, washed rice, chopped onion, minced garlic, parsley, black pepper, paprika, dried mint, and salt. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Wrap the Grape Leaves: Place a grape leaf on a flat surface, shiny side down. Put a spoonful of the meat and rice mixture at the center of the leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf inward, then roll it tightly into a small parcel.

Layer the Pot: In a large pot, spread a layer of shredded fermented cabbage (kiseli kupus) on the bottom. Place the stuffed grape leaves snugly on top of the cabbage.

Preparing the Kiseli Kupus (Fermented Cabbage):

Shred the Cabbage: Shred the cabbage finely. In a large bowl, mix the shredded cabbage with salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage to help release its juices. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.

Rinse and Drain: Rinse the cabbage thoroughly under cold water to remove excess salt. Drain well.


Layering and Cooking: In the pot with the stuffed grape leaves, alternate layers of stuffed grape leaves and shredded fermented cabbage until all are used. Pour vegetable oil, tomato sauce, and water (or beef broth) over the layers.

Cooking: Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 45-60 minutes or until the rice is cooked, and the grape leaves are tender.

Serve: Once cooked, allow it to cool for a few minutes. Serve the Japrak s Kiselim Zeljem hot, with a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Enjoy this authentic Bosnian dish that captures the essence of the region's rich culinary heritage!

Nutritional Values

Here's an approximate breakdown of the nutritional values for the main ingredients in the Japrak s Kiselim Zeljem recipe. Keep in mind that actual values can vary based on specific brands and preparation methods:

Grape Leaves (1 jar, drained):

  • Calories: 15 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 180 mg

Benefit: Low in calories and a good source of fiber. Grape leaves also contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Long-Grain Rice (1 cup, cooked):

  • Calories: 205 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 2 mg

Benefit: A good source of carbohydrates for energy, and it provides small amounts of protein and essential nutrients like B vitamins.

Minced Meat (1/2 kg, beef and pork mixture):

  • Calories: 1200 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Protein: 80 g
  • Fat: 96 g
  • Sodium: 100 mg

Benefit: Rich in protein, iron, and zinc. Provides essential amino acids necessary for various bodily functions.

Onion (1 medium-sized):

  • Calories: 45 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 5 mg

Benefit: Low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of vitamin C. Onions also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Garlic (2 cloves):

  • Calories: 10 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg

Benefit: Contains allicin, a compound with potential medicinal properties. Garlic is known for its antibacterial and antiviral effects and may contribute to heart health.

Fresh Parsley (1/4 cup, chopped):

  • Calories: 4 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 5 mg

Benefit: Rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Parsley also provides antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties.

Ground Black Pepper (1 teaspoon):

  • Calories: 6 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg

Benefit: Contains piperine, which may enhance the absorption of certain nutrients. Black pepper also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Paprika (1 teaspoon):

  • Calories: 6 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg

Benefit: Rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Paprika may have anti-inflammatory effects and contribute to overall immune health.

Dried Mint (1 teaspoon):

  • Calories: 2 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg

Benefit: Contains menthol, which may have a soothing effect on the digestive tract. Mint is also rich in antioxidants and may aid in digestion.

Salt (to taste, approximately 1 teaspoon):

  • Sodium: Varies based on individual preference

Benefit: Necessary for maintaining electrolyte balance in the body. However, moderation is crucial as excessive salt intake can contribute to health issues.

Water (2 cups):

  • No significant nutritional value (assuming tap water)

Benefit: Essential for overall hydration and supports various bodily functions, including digestion, nutrient transport, and temperature regulation.

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary based on factors such as specific brands, cooking methods, and variations in ingredient sizes. Adjustments may be needed based on your specific ingredients and serving sizes.


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