dolma (ˈdɒlmə, -mɑː)
— n , pl dolmas , dolmades
a vine leaf stuffed with a filling of meat and rice
I finally got myself together and made something new! Fiiinnally! And I went straight for the big guns; yaprax! (.. or dolma.)
I got so confused when I was about to make this. I had one recipe in my tiny Kurdish cookbook, and I googled like 15 different recipes online and I had friends helping me out with their versions as well. I got so confused at some point I almost decided not to do it, but I pulled myself together and decided to make my own version of it.
I have no idea how many vine leaves I ended up using. I just grabbed it out of the bag as I needed more.
The rice mixture:
1 drinking glass (like I’ve shown before) of round porridge rice
300g of minced meat
1 big tablespoon of tomato puré
The insides of the aubergine, squash and half an onion
1 ts salt
1 ts citric acid
1 ts garam masala
1 ts jeera
few strands of fresh dill
Remove meat and add nuts and celery if you want the vegetarian version. Maybe tofu is good in this?
I spent 2 hours making this as I didn’t know the correct order to do it. I started off by making the rice mixture, so I chopped up the onions and hollowed out the vegetables and tried to finely chop them as much as I could and threw it in the pan with the meat.
When you hollow out the tomato, keep the lid. And the way to hollow out the onions is to make a cut from the middle and down and just peel off layer by layer. Be careful so it doesn’t break.
In my opinion; it’s not OK. The smell and taste of the leaves was just.. ugh. It smelled like Greek and Turkish dolma, and I’m not saying that Greek and Turkish dolma doesn’t taste good, but it’s SO different from ours.
So I decided to try and save it by washing them and seeing if I could get some of the taste off. They were soaked in salt and some vinegar thing, I think. It was a little better, but not quite what I wanted them to be.
I then washed the rice and put it in with the meat mix, raw of course, and also tossed in the dill. I gathered up everything and decided to sit myself down in the living room and take my time rolling.
Now, on to something different for a second. When I was out searching for vine leaves, I ended up finding it in the 4th shop I tried. I had basically given up. The first shop I went in to was owned by a Greek man so I figured he must have some, but of course he didn’t. What he did have tho was canned dolma so I figured it would be interesting to buy and compare flavors.
I opened it up and the smell that hit me was just like a slap in the face. It was a mix between oil/fatty smell and the same vinegary smell as when I opened the pack of vineleaves. I stacked them neatly on a plate and hesitantly tried one.
Do you see that oil just shining away? I mean ugh! It was SO greasy and the taste was just.. artificial and NOT GOOD. It kind of made me happy as I figured I have to be able to do better than that. I think we tried one each and the rest was thrown out.
Okay, back to mine.
I started off by cutting up the potatoes and putting them in the bottom. Mum always did this so I automatically did it too. She might have just done it since she knew I love potatoes, but it’s also good to keep the vine leaves from hitting direct heat.
Then I started with the vine leaves as I’ve heard they need to be in the bottom as they need more heat. Stacked them up neatly and filled up with the vegetables.
The vegetables are suppose to be stacked hugging each other, but I didn’t want to make more food than necessary, so I figured it would be OK.
What you do now is add some hot water and put on low heat for an hour. The amount of water was something I didn’t really get the hang of as every one said different things, so I put in one and a half cup, just as the water reached the vegetables on top.
I thought I would leave them on for 40 minutes instead of an hour as mine was much smaller than all the other recipes out there, but I forgot and left it on for 50 minutes, which made the bottom most potatoes burn. I caught it quickly tho, so the rest was OK.
If it was good? YES. I am so proud of myself! We finished it all and I’m definitely making it again. It didn’t taste like my mums obviously, but I’ll keep trying and see how close I can get.
If I would change anything? Yes. Next time I’m going to add more rice to the vine leaves as I felt there was too much leaves and not enough rice this time. If the leaves had been fresh, it wouldn’t have been an issue. But since the leaves had so much flavor of their own, it kind of killed the rice mixture. I would also add more water so it could have boiled a little longer.
I can’t wait to make my own awesome version of this. More tries and more recipes are definitely needed. And I think I might stick to just using onions and vine leaves as that’s what seem to be going in this house (and a tomato or two for myself). :-)