Saturday, March 17, 2012

Recipe for 'Zeytinyagli Dolma' (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Dolma is probably one of the most basic and loved foods of Turkish cooking.
I should probably start by defining the word Dolma - It can be used to mean filled or stuffing or filling.  In Turkish Cuisine, we have two types of Dolma - meat filled (served hot as an entrée or an appetizer) and with olive oil (served cold as an appetizer).  Dolma can be made by stuffing peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, grape leaves, cabbage leaves, chard  or any other vegetable that can be filled.  According to the vegetable, some of the stuffing ingredients might change.  The following is my personal recipe for Zeytingyagli Dolma that I have simplified after doing extensive research in my family and friends who have been renowned for their Dolma recipes. It can be used for stuffing peppers or wrapping grape leaves which we happen to also call Sarma (meaning wrapped) by the way.

Zeytinyagli Dolma - (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Zeytinyagli Biber Dolmasi
Zeytingyagli Yaprak Sarmasi


3/4 cup olive oil
10-12 onions finely chopped
1 cup rice (washed and drained)
50gr pine nuts
50gr currants
4-5 lumps of sugar
1 Tbspn salt
1 Tbspn black pepper
1 Tbspn  dried mint
1 Tbspn  allspice
1 1/2 cup warm water

Sauté the onions in olive oil, on low for 15 minutes.  Add the rice and sauté for another 15 minutes over low heat.  Add the pine nuts and currants and sauté for 5 more minutes.  Add the spices, mix.  Add the water and put the heat on medium; when it begins to boil (in about 5 minutes) turn the heat down for 10 minutes.  Turn the heat off and let it cool for at least 2 hours.

This filling can be used to fill green or red peppers or wrap in grape leaves or boiled cabbage leaves or zucchini flowers (as seen above).  Put a plate above the Dolma and pour 1 1/2 cups of water over it, close the lid and cook for about 1 hour after it boils.   I've heard my husband's maternal grandmother had a saying that I use as a rule of thumb "You should cook with the food"; these measurements work for me but you should be on hand to check to see if there is enough water in the Dolma and maybe add another 1/2 cup warm water if needed.

Afiyet Olsun...

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