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I’ve been travelling quite a lot lately – Czech Republic, Vienna, Budapest – so I wasn’t at home one single weekend. That’s why my last post was written quite a while ago. Sorry for that. When me and my parents came home today I felt totally obliged to post a new recipe. The first thing I did was to go into the garden and the first thing I saw were our withered tomato plants and our grape vine with many cute little leaves. Perfect. Let’s make dolma (pronounced “doll-may” without the “y”) for dinner!

Stuffed Grape Leaves are something very typical in a lot of cultures. With good reason. They are simply delicious. I love them in Greek and Oriental style, but had to decide for one, so I went for the Oriental one, as I didn’t want to experiment too much. For all of you who love the Greek ones like I do, I promise you, there’ll come a recipe. Sometime.

My dolmas were ready much sooner than I thought, but unfortunately the leaves weren’t what I call tender. Make sure you leave them in the water until they are.

Serves 2

  • 30 young wine leaves
  • 25 g granulated soy (1/4 cup)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 100 g basmati rice (1/2 cup) (*Reyhani)
  • salt

In a small pot, cook the wine leaves on medium heat,with so much water that they are covered. After about 5 minutes, they should have changed their colour to another green. Turn them around and cook for another 2 – 5 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile put the granulated soy into a small bowl, sprinkle with salt and pour on 75 ml (3/8 cup) hot water. Set aside.

Dice the onions and tomatoes and chop the mint. In a large pan, heat some olive oil and add onions, mint and turmeric. Fry for about 5 minutes on medium heat and add the tomatoes and the granulated soy which should have absorbed the water by then. Fry for another 5 minutes and season with salt. Set aside.

Wash the rice until the water is clear. Place a pot with water on the fire and bring to a boil. Put the rice and 1 tsp. of salt in it and cook for 6 minutes on medium-high heat. Drain and add to the rest. If necessary, add some more salt.

Prepare a pan for the dolmas. You can use the one you cooked the rice in. Cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Now comes the fun part: Put about a teaspoon to one tablespoon – depending on how big your leaves are – on the cooked wine leaves (the upper side of the leaf should be outside). Roll up from the bottom and fold the sides so that nothing can come out. Roll the leaf to a nicely shaped dolma. Put them in the prepared pan, very close together. Terrible explanation, I’m sorry. I can’t even blame it on the English language not being my mother tongue – it wouldn’t have sounded better in German. But hopefully the pictures will help you understand what I mean.

When you’ve used up all the leaves, pour some water on the dolmas. The lowest layer should be almost covered with water. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.