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March 17, 2014 | by  | in Opinion |
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Meals and Feels

Dolmades (or dolma) are stuffed grape-vine leaves often found in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern cuisines. You can find them in Greek or Turkish restaurants, most commonly, or tinned from fancy supermarkets; but the homemade version is far superior as the tinned ones have gluggy rice and fall apart too easily.

Dolmades are traditionally stuffed with rice, currants, herbs, onion and pine nuts, but I tend to replace the pine nuts with chopped almonds given the exorbitant price of the former.

I served these with falafel, Turkish flat bread, hummus, olives, and a salad of roasted eggplant and tomato, fresh basil, garlic, goat’s feta and lemon juice.

Dolmades

– 1 jar pre-blanched vine leaves ($3.60 at Moore Wilson’s bulk section)

– 1 onion, finely diced

– 2 Tbsp olive oil

– 1.5 cup vegetable stock

– 3 Tbsp currants

– 3 Tbsp chopped almonds

– 1 cup long grain rice

– Juice of 1 lemon

– 2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley leaves

– Salt and pepper to taste

First, rinse and separate the vine leaves – be gentle as they are fragile and will tear easily!

Sauté the onion in the olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, excluding the almonds and the parsley, and let simmer until the rice has absorbed all the water. The rice needs only to be par-cooked. Add the almonds and the parsley once the rice mixture is cooked.

To stuff the leaves, put a teaspoonful in the centre of each leaf. Fold two sides of the leaf into the centre so they overlap, then roll the rest of the leaf up, into a cigar shape. Ensure there are no holes where the mixture is coming out of the leaf. Don’t roll the dolmades too tightly or they may burst as the rice will expand more when cooked.

Arrange the rolled dolmades into a deep frying pan or similar, and pour over ½ cup of olive oil, the juice of two lemons, and 1 ½ cups of water. Cook on a med–high heat with a lid on, until the water has been absorbed and the rice inside the dolmades is totally cooked.

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