Dolmas Dolmados of the Grapes

Dolmas are not something I’m too keen of. They look like a green version of a cat puke hairball to me. I know they aren’t hairy and fuzzy, it’s the shape that makes me feel that way.

As I’ve said many a time, I have problems and that’s my best explanation of how my mind works.

Before writing this entry, I admittedly thought dolmas were a Greek dish, but they actually originate from Turkey. I can’t help but wonder if that’s kind of awkward for Turks to know that most people associate dolmas as a Greek dish given all their past conflict or is it revenge for the Greeks to take on the dolmas of the world? These are deep questions that I’d like to discuss.

We will have to put that discussion on hold though because now we need to focus on how the people of Tastes of Monroe County make their dolmas.

What you’ll need

  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of currants
  • 1 8oz jar of grape leaves,
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of bay leaves
  • 1 whole lime

The first step is to cook your rice. I prefer the rice cooker method, but if you don’t have one just follow the instructions in your packaging. Whatever method you use, you’ll want the rice to cool so don’t leave it on the burner.

As your rice cooks and cools, you will saute the onion in some olive oil until the onion softens. Once softened add the dill, cardamom, nutmeg, salt and currants. Provided that your rice has cooled, mix this mixture with your rice.

I suppose  you could do it before the rice cools though. It’s not going to affect your dolma rolling.

Now get out your grape leaves.

I have to mention that I had trouble finding grape leaves that weren’t already stuffed. In LA, I found them at Gelson’s and I think I spotted some at Trader Joe’s after the fact, but I’m not sure. I often find an ingredient I was searching for at Trader Joe’s after the fact. This tells me that I should always ask first, just in case.

Anyway, you must drain and rinse your leaves before you start filling them up. Hygiene is important even in the vegetable world. To fill, you just pile a fair heap of rice mixture on your grape leaf and then roll it into a pouch.

Once that’s done, you prepare the dolmas for baking by placing them in an oiled dish with slices of lemon and bay leaves on top.

Then, for dressing, you will squeeze your lime into a cup and add an equal amount of olive oil. In other words, if you squeezed half a cup of lime juice, then you will add half a cup of olive oil.

This mixture will be poured on top of the dolmas and then they will be baked for 45 minutes at 350.

When the time is up, all you have to do next is chill. I’m talking about the dolmas, but you can chill while they are cooking and after too.

The final result wasn’t bad. I liked it ok, which I feel is saying a lot, because I don’t like dolmas. I discovered that my problem with dolmas is the grape leaves. I think grape leaves are gross. An ex of mine would say they are trash. I admittedly like that term so I’m stealing it. Grape leaves are trash leaves when it comes to eating them.

The jar of leaves I got was huge so I tried to cook my leftovers as a side dish. I used a similar recipe to collared greens, which is something I do like but you can’t always make trash pretty. I tried. I really did. I stuffed down a few bites, but it made me gag so I put that trash in the trash.

Life is too short to eat something you don’t like. If you do like dolmas, though, I think this is a solid recipe to try out. If not, hopefully this was entertaining because otherwise I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Tell me I’m pretty and funny!!!


2 little dolmas sitting on a dish, hanging out, being eaten and stuff





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