Romanian style Dolma (stuffed grape leaves) recipe | It's Sooo Good! |
 

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It's sooo good! > Recipes > Romanian Dolma

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Romanian Dolma (stuffed grape leaves)

I'll tell you what you can put there :
  • Grape leaves (fresh or from a jar)
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • Handful of fresh fennel or dill
  • 1/2 onions, diced (optional)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Spices: salt, black pepper, sugar, etc. to taste
Click to enlarge
Romanian Dolma
Dolma is a Middle Eastern favorite that comes with a lot of variety from place to place. These are larger (and tastier!) than the Greek kind. This recipe serves 3-4 people.

I'll tell you what you can do :

Stuffed vine leaves is a world tradion. Some people call it dolma, some call it Yaprak—I call it delicious!

First things first: rinse and then soak the rice for at least 20 minutes to soften it up. Then, strain and in a large bowl, mix together the washed rice with onions (if using), and spices, including chopped fennel or dill. Set aside.

* If using fresh grape leaves, you'll need to do something to make them soft enough to work with. The traditional method is to place each leaf in boiling water for a few seconds, and then move it into a ready bowl with cold water. Repeat this for all the grape leaves you have. An easier method for the modern man is to place the leaves in a microwave for 1 minute to soften them up. Of course you can also buy grape leaves prepared in brine from the supermarket, but I find these very salty. If you get them, rinse them with cold water first to get rid of the excess salt.

The dolma's outer shell is simply one large grape leaf placed flat on your counter. Place a large spoonful of the rice mixture in the center of the leaf, fold over the sides first, then roll bottom to top—exactly like a burrito! Remember that the rice will grow when cooked, so DO NOT OVERSTUFF!

Now, for the important part: Coat a medium saucepan with olive oil and place each "dolma" into the saucepan as you finish rolling them. Stick them as closely together as possible—this will prevent them from coming apart—until your saucepan is stuffed.

Pour 1 cup water, the juice of one lemon, and some sea salt over your dolma. Turn on medium heat until the water starts to bubble, then close with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the flame to simmer. Allow to cook for about 25 minutes.

You can enjoy these dolma's hot or cold—I like them hot! Serve with an extra coat of olive oil and lemon juice on top—it's sooo good!

Dolma
Tip

Dolma actually comes from a Turkish word that means "stuffed." But what you stuff in it is up to you. I also like to add ground meat or scrambled eggs to add more protein. You can also adjust the amount of water in the saucepan to create rice that is firmer or softer depending on your taste!


Best of luck,

Moti

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New! Write a comment about this recipe:

Hm writes: (03 Aug 2010, 01:23)
Although I'm veeery late with this comment (2 years late...), I have to add it:
- in Romanian the "dolmas" you are writing about are called "sarmale" (sg. "sarma"/ pl. "sarmale"); they are really a common dish, especially during the winter holidays;
- the "sarmale" tend to vary a lot from region to region: e.g. big/small, with vine leaves/with cabbage leaves (these tend to be more common), for fasting/not for fasting etc.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy them and also try some other dishes from this country.
Wanda writes: (03 Oct 2008, 02:31)
Dear Moti,

Dear Moti,

I am so sorry I haven't replied in so long. I just found this bookmark again!
Here it is 3 October and we still have
Okra in the garden. I am going to pull
it out as I need that space for spinach and mustard greens. I think making Dolma with Okra will have to wait as the family is tired of Okra right now. I will copy your recipe though and I thank you for it.

I wish you and yours love and peace in these troubled times.
Wanda writes: (03 Oct 2008, 02:28)
Dear Moti,

I am so sorry I haven't replied in so long. I just found this bookmark again!
Here it is 3 October and we still have
Okra in the garden. I am going to pull
it out as I need that space for spinach and mustard greens. I think making Dolma with Okra will have to wait as the family is tired of Okra right now. I will copy your recipe though and I thank you for it.

I wish you and yours love and peace in these troubled times.
Moti writes: (14 Sep 2008, 16:16)
Dear Wanda,

Thanks for your message. Grape leaves certainly aren't the only thing you can make dolma out of. My wife likes to use the leaves from beets, and they honestly work wonderfully. I've never tried okra leaves, but I've seen them at the farmer's market in San Francisco and they certainly are edible. I think their shape (more long than rectangular) might make it more difficult. Give it a try and let me know!

-Moti
Wanda writes: (14 Sep 2008, 13:27)
Dear Moti, Can I use okra leaves for this recipe? I have a lot of Okra in my garden and never have cooked Okra leaves before.

Thank you,

Wanda
Wanda writes: (14 Sep 2008, 13:21)
Dear Moti,

Thank you for your site. I have a garden. I had a lot of Okra this year.
It is now 7 to 8 foot tall. I wonder if I can make DOLMA with okra leaves?
Do you think that would be good?

Thank You,

Wanda
SOSO writes: (04 Aug 2008, 16:53)
I WOULD TELL YOU NO PAST DOLMA THAN IRAI DOLMA

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