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Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves) Recipe

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This is my mum's recipe, and she got it from her mum (my yiayia), who most likely got it from her own mother.

The rolled dolmades prior to cooking. Opa!

The rolled dolmades prior to cooking. Opa!

Dolmades: A Popular Greek Dish

This is actually my mum's recipe, and she got it from her mum (my yiayia), who most likely got it from her own mother. I can imagine that the recipe has changed somewhat over the years, though probably not a lot.

Vegetarian Dolmades

I come from a Greek family, so you can imagine that I grew up eating a lot of meat. And, of course, the dolmades my mum and yiayia make have meat in them. Now, I'm not a vegetarian myself, but my sister is—so when she stopped eating meat, she asked my mum if she could make vegetarian dolmades.

Ever since then, I actually prefer my dolmades to be meatless. Which is great news if you're a vegetarian or vegan because, in my personal opinion, I think they taste better that way. I stand by what I say.

I also usually cook my dolmades in the oven because I love them crunchy. Yum.

The picture above shows them before they're cooked, so they look sort of dry. But don't you love how neatly wrapped up they are?

Cook Time

Prep time: Depends on how fast you are at wrapping the leaves.

Cook time: Usually takes 40 minutes. But if you decide to cook them in the oven, it may take longer, depending on how crunchy you want them.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or more if you like it oily)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely (optional)
  • 500 grams minced beef, lamb, or chicken (optional)
  • 1 cup medium-grain rice
  • 50 vine leaves (fresh or jarred)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste diluted in 1/2 cup of water (sometimes I add a few more tablespoons)
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped finely (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Instructions

  1. If you have jarred vine leaves, rinse them in cold water and remove the stems. Fresh leaves should be rinsed thoroughly.
  2. Place the leaves in hot boiled water for 10 minutes, or until they change colour. Drain thoroughly and place them on a plate.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. (If you've decided that you don't want oven-cooked dolmades, then ignore the next step and go straight to step 5.)
  4. If you want to cook the dolmades in the oven, then this next step is for you. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan-forced oven). Cook the rice mixture on the stove. Be sure to add water and more oil. Cook for 15 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, you can follow the rest of the instructions.
  5. (Refer to the photos below for how to roll the leaves.) Lay leaf flat (shiny side facing down) and place 1 teaspoon of the mixture at the bottom of the leaf near the stem. Fold the bottom sections of the leaf over the rice and towards the middle of the leaf. Next, fold the top corners towards the center and roll. Place in the pot (or oven tray). Add a little more olive oil on top if desired.
  6. If you are cooking them in a pot on the stove, place a plate on top of the dolmades. Fill the pot with water, taking care not to fill over the plate. Bring to the boil, lower the heat down, and simmer gently for 40 minutes.
  7. If you're cooking them in the oven, place the dolmades on a cooking tray, add extra oil (trust me, you'll need it), and sprinkle some salt on top. Cook for 40 minutes. Keep checking them to make sure you haven't burnt them.
  8. When the dolmades are done cooking, let them cool for 15 minutes. You can serve them with a squeeze of lemon juice or tzatziki, or you can have them with just a dash of salt. They still taste amazing whether they're cold or warm. Enjoy!

How to Roll Dolmades: Photo Tutorial

Step 1: Lay leaf out flat and add mixture near the stem.

Step 1: Lay leaf out flat and add mixture near the stem.

Step 2: Fold bottom corners.

Step 2: Fold bottom corners.

Fold the other bottom corner.

Fold the other bottom corner.

Step 3: Fold top corners.

Step 3: Fold top corners.

Step 4: Roll it up.

Step 4: Roll it up.

All rolled up.

All rolled up.

Step 5: Place them in a pot like this. Make sure they're tightly packed.

Step 5: Place them in a pot like this. Make sure they're tightly packed.

Step 6: Fill pot with water and place a plate on top.

Step 6: Fill pot with water and place a plate on top.

After cooking, serve the dolmades with tzatziki, lemon juice, or even just a dash of salt.

After cooking, serve the dolmades with tzatziki, lemon juice, or even just a dash of salt.

© 2019 Elise

Comments

Jennifer Jorgenson on June 11, 2019:

I do feel very grateful for the grape vines around here. I'm sure I will enjoy it!

Elise (author) from Melbourne on June 11, 2019:

I wish I had grapes vine leaves around me. I'd kill for my own vines. Hope you enjoy the recipe and thanks for reading!

Jennifer Jorgenson on June 11, 2019:

I've pickled grape leaves before and I've always wanted to try dolmades since we have a lot of grape leaves around, but I never have. Thanks for this recipe! You've inspired me to give these a try this year.

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