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Dolma or Yalancı Dolma October 22, 2012

Posted by Paula Erbay in Appetizers.

(makes approximately 45 Dolmas)

1 lb      Grape leaves, jar

2 C      Rice, short grain
3          Onions, medium sized sweet
¼ C     Currants
1/3 C   Pine Nuts
1 tsp    Allspice, ground
½ tsp   Cinnamon, ground
½ tsp   Cloves, ground
1 tsp    Sugar
1 T       Mint, dried
1 T       Dill, dried
1 C      Parsley, leaves flat
1          Tomato (I used a Roma)
Olive Oil
Black Pepper

2          lemons, juice from
1          Lemon, sliced to serve

Gently remove the grape leaves from the jar. Place the leaves in a large bowl of cool water to remove the salty brine they were packed in.

Drain and repeat several times so the leaves will not impart additional salt to the Dolmas. Drain the leaves in a colander while preparing the rice filling.

The quantities in the recipe will make about 45 Dolmas.  There are approximately 55 leaves in a one pound jar:  you’ll use some to line the bottom of the pan while cooking the Dolmas (I set aside any torn or “ugly” leaves for that purpose).

Pour boiling water over the currants and let sit until they plump up (about 20 minutes) then drain.

Pour boiling water over the rice and let stand about 10 minutes.  Rinse in cool water and drain – this is to remove excess starch from the rice.

Chop the onions, chop the parsley leaves and set aside.  Grate the tomato and set aside.

In a large saucepan, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent.  Add the pine nuts and sauté until golden.  Add the drained rice to the onions and pine nuts, sauté about 15 minutes (I never measure my olive oil, adjust as you sauté to ensure the rice gets coated with oil).  Stir the drained currants, dried spices/herbs (not the fresh parsley or tomato yet), sugar, salt and black pepper into the rice-onion mixture.  Add 2 ½ cups water to the pan and bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer at low heat for about 10 minutes.  The water should be absorbed and the rice mixture should be very moist. Turn the heat off and stir in the fresh chopped parsley and grated tomato: taste and adjust salt and pepper.


I like using 3 large rimmed baking sheets for my assembly line:  One for the drained grape leaves; another for rolling the Dolmas; and, the third to place the rolled Dolmas.  The pan with the rice filling should be in easy reach.  Also have kitchen shears or a paring knife handy to remove the stems and any tough veins from the leaves. This can take a while (especially the first time), so pull up a chair, put on some good music (preferably Turkish or Greek) and get started.

Place one grape leaf on your work surface (rimmed baking sheet) with the vein side up.  Trim off the stem and any really tough large veins with either a knife or kitchen shears.  Place a large soupspoon full of rice filling along the stem end of the leaf (see the pictures).  Fold the bottom ends of the leaf up over the filling, then the sides over the filling, and then roll from the stem end up – like a burrito for my friends in the West and Southwest US. Note: some Turks prefer this type of Dolma rolled long and thin like a cigarette.

  (oops, no pictures of the Dutch oven – guess I was glad to be done rolling)

Line the bottom of a wide based stockpot or Dutch oven with some of the leftover grape leaves.  Place the Dolmas side by side, seam side down tightly in the pan and in layers (place the largest at the bottom).  Mix 1 ½ Cups water with 4 T Olive Oil and the juice of 2 lemons, pour this over the Dolmas in the Dutch oven.  Cover and cook over medium heat until it comes to a full boil, then reduce to low: total cooking time 1 hour.  Turn heat off and allow to cool in pan.  Arrange on a serving platter with fresh lemon slices: serve cold or at room temperature.



1. Mary Bachmayer - November 4, 2012

Paula, the spicing in this rice is perfect!

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