KIDDOCJJ
KIDDOCJJ
EAT. LEARN. EXPLORE. INSPIRE.

DOLMAS

fullsizeoutput_4c2f.jpeg

DOLMAS, also known as DOLMADES (in Greek), and even TOLMAS (in Armenian) consist of leaves (typically grape) stuffed with meats, vegetables, rice and even dried fruit. Currently we associate them with Mediterranean cuisine as part of a Mezze (appetizer) platter.  Variations of Dolmas occur around the world, each culture having its own signature (and its own leaf). Typically I'll pick some up from the olive bar in my market to keep in the fridge for some healthy snacking (the leaves are rich in Vitamin A, K and fiber) as dolmas are naturally low calorie, but really delicious. Some can be found in tins, but tend to taste metallic and have a mushy texture.  I've always wanted to make my own, and on May 5, POOF! My neighbor Carole and her sister Janice (nice Armenian girls) schlepped a huge bag of FRESH grape leaves down from Fresno. JUST. FOR. ME. So what choice did I have but to make some. Just for you! And this particular version is Vegan and Gluten-free. Feel free to add ground beef or lamb, take out the currants, add different herbs, tomato paste, or even wrap them in kale or cabbage leaves.  This recipe makes about 30 dolmas - you may have more or less depending on the size of your grape leaves.  And if you want some delicious accompaniments, add some lamb meatballs and a splash of Tzatziki for a refreshing and healthy Spring meal.

 
  FIRST, A FEW WORDS ABOUT GRAPE LEAVES   For this recipe, I used fresh grape leaves, but you can use jarred leaves as well.  To prepare them, rinse well in a colander and set out to dry on paper or cloth towels, being careful to separate them without tearing.               

FIRST, A FEW WORDS ABOUT GRAPE LEAVES

For this recipe, I used fresh grape leaves, but you can use jarred leaves as well.  To prepare them, rinse well in a colander and set out to dry on paper or cloth towels, being careful to separate them without tearing.

 

 

 

 

 

 If you are lucky enough to have fresh grape leaves, clip off their stems with scissors, rinse them in cold water and put in a deep bowl.  Cover the leaves with boiling water for 5 minutes in order to soften and sterilize them.  Remove and place smooth side down onto paper towels or a rack until ready to use. The textured, veiny side, should face up.               

If you are lucky enough to have fresh grape leaves, clip off their stems with scissors, rinse them in cold water and put in a deep bowl.  Cover the leaves with boiling water for 5 minutes in order to soften and sterilize them.  Remove and place smooth side down onto paper towels or a rack until ready to use. The textured, veiny side, should face up.

 

 

 

 

 

  INGREDIENTS:   -  Extra virgin olive oil  -  1 medium brown onion, chopped finely  -  1 1/2 c. rice (white or brown, whatever you like)  -  1 TB finely chopped garlic (about 3-4 cloves)  -  1/2 tsp ground allspice  -  1/4 cup toasted pine nuts  -  1/4 cup currants  -  juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)   

INGREDIENTS:

-  Extra virgin olive oil

-  1 medium brown onion, chopped finely

-  1 1/2 c. rice (white or brown, whatever you like)

-  1 TB finely chopped garlic (about 3-4 cloves)

-  1/2 tsp ground allspice

-  1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

-  1/4 cup currants

-  juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)

 

 -  1/2 cup chopped parsley  -  1/4 cup tightly packed mint leaves, processed to a puree in your blender, grinder or food processor  -  4-5 cups veggie stock (or chicken, if not an issue)  -  Salt and pepper to taste   INSTRUCTIONS:   1.  Saute the onion in a TB of olive oil until limp and translucent.  Add the pine nuts, allspice and garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Now, add the rice and cook until it emits a toasty aroma.   

-  1/2 cup chopped parsley

-  1/4 cup tightly packed mint leaves, processed to a puree in your blender, grinder or food processor

-  4-5 cups veggie stock (or chicken, if not an issue)

-  Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Saute the onion in a TB of olive oil until limp and translucent.  Add the pine nuts, allspice and garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Now, add the rice and cook until it emits a toasty aroma.

 

 2.  Add a cup of stock and stir until moisture is absorbed. Add a second cup, along with the currants, mint, lemon juice and 2 TB of olive oil and mix.  3. Add a third cup of stock and cook until rice is slightly crunchy. At that point, take it off the heat.      

2.  Add a cup of stock and stir until moisture is absorbed. Add a second cup, along with the currants, mint, lemon juice and 2 TB of olive oil and mix.

3. Add a third cup of stock and cook until rice is slightly crunchy. At that point, take it off the heat.

 

 

 4.  Stir in the chopped parsley.    KIDDOCJJ Tip:  if you aren't a vegetarian, at this point you can add a cup or 2 of ground beef, or lamb, or a combination of the two for more savory dolmas.    5.  Now taste that rice and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and more lemon juice, if needed.

4.  Stir in the chopped parsley.

KIDDOCJJ Tip:  if you aren't a vegetarian, at this point you can add a cup or 2 of ground beef, or lamb, or a combination of the two for more savory dolmas.

5.  Now taste that rice and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and more lemon juice, if needed.

 6.  Line a straight-sided large pan with about 10-12 grape leaves (use the torn or imperfect ones here).  7.  Line up your leaves, your pan and  your filling in one place.  8. Grab a tablespoon. Let's fill these babies!   

6.  Line a straight-sided large pan with about 10-12 grape leaves (use the torn or imperfect ones here).

7.  Line up your leaves, your pan and  your filling in one place.

8. Grab a tablespoon. Let's fill these babies!

 

 9.  Try to align, or even overlap, the bottom of the leaves.  Put a generous tablespoon of the filling right over the stem area.  10. Carefully fold the bottom over the filling, just to its edge.      

9.  Try to align, or even overlap, the bottom of the leaves.  Put a generous tablespoon of the filling right over the stem area.

10. Carefully fold the bottom over the filling, just to its edge.

 

 

 11.  Now gently fold the left side of the leaf over the filling.   

11.  Now gently fold the left side of the leaf over the filling.

 

 15.  The key to retaining the shape of the dolmas is to pack them fairly tightly in your pan.         

15.  The key to retaining the shape of the dolmas is to pack them fairly tightly in your pan.

 

 

 

 12.  Repeat on the other side and square up the top of the roll.   

12.  Repeat on the other side and square up the top of the roll.

 

 16.  Drizzle them with olive oil and pour over your remaining stock to cover them.  If you run out add a bit of water.         

16.  Drizzle them with olive oil and pour over your remaining stock to cover them.  If you run out add a bit of water.

 

 

 

 13.  Now with confidence and determination, roll that baby up to the top. The natural moisture in the leaf will adhere it to itself.

13.  Now with confidence and determination, roll that baby up to the top. The natural moisture in the leaf will adhere it to itself.

 17.  Weight the whole assembly down with a plate (I use glass so I can see what's going on underneath).  18.  Bring to a boil then turn to your lowest setting and simmer for 30 minutes.  19.  Uncover and let cool until you can pick them up comfortably with your bare hands.

17.  Weight the whole assembly down with a plate (I use glass so I can see what's going on underneath).

18.  Bring to a boil then turn to your lowest setting and simmer for 30 minutes.

19.  Uncover and let cool until you can pick them up comfortably with your bare hands.

 14.  Place the roll in the lined pan, seam side down.     

14.  Place the roll in the lined pan, seam side down.  

 

 20.  Arrange on a plate, drizzle with lemon, sea salt and olive oil.    21.   If you have elected to include meat inside, you can serve them warm with a tangy yoghurt sauce like my  tzatziki .

20.  Arrange on a plate, drizzle with lemon, sea salt and olive oil.  

21.   If you have elected to include meat inside, you can serve them warm with a tangy yoghurt sauce like my tzatziki.