Everything you need to know about Dolma
The idea of cooking stuffed vegetables is nothing new. In ancient Greece, filled grape leaves were called “fyllas”. In Mexico, poblano peppers named “chile rellenos” are loaded with cheese and coated with egg. The Italians call them “ripieni” and almost every other culture has their own version of the recipe. In Mediterranean and Persian cuisine, stuffed vegetables are known as “dolma”. Whatever you call it, the result is the same: delicious.
The basic idea of dolma is simple: hollow out a pepper, zucchini, eggplant or something similar and fill it with whatever you like. Depending on your tastes, you can use rice, grains, meat or seafood and myriad of spices. Instead of a hollow vegetable, many recipes call for wrapping the filling in vine leaves or cabbage. However you choose to make it, dolma is sure to be a hit at your next party or family gathering. Obviously, the best way to learn about a food is to prepare it. The cooking process is a little time consuming, but well worth the end results. So, are you ready to try making dolma for yourself? Of course you are!
Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
1 jar of brined grape leaves (16 oz. or about 40 leaves)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 ½ cups long-grain rice, uncooked
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 or 2 sprigs fresh mint, minced
Greek yogurt for dipping (optional)
- Cook garlic and onion in a skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft. Put them in a mixing bowl to cool down.
- Add the uncooked rice, salt, mint and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to the mixing bowl. Stir into onion and garlic.
- Unfold grape leaves, 3 or 4 at a time, and lay flat. Place about 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture in the leaf, at the bottom where the stem would be located. Roll the leaf up like a burrito, make sure you tuck in the ends. Important: do not roll the leaves too tightly. The rice will expand when cooked.
- Place the rolled leaves in the bottom of a large pot, seam down, close together. It’s ok to create a second layer if you have too many leaves.
- Drizzle the remaining olive oil and lemon juice over the grape leaves. Fill the pot with water until the dolma are just covered and place a plate or dish on the leaves. This will prevent them from unraveling as they cook. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until rice is soft.
- Remove dolma from the pot carefully. Serve warm or cold. Reserve the remaining liquid. If you have any leftovers, store them in the liquid and refrigerate.
Dolma work wonderfully as appetizers or the main entrée. To give your taste buds an over-the-top experience, make sure you serve the dolma with Tzatziki (Greek yogurt sauce made with garlic and cucumber). Happy eating!
Recipe courtesy of budgetbytes.com