Dolma (Yarpaq Dolmasi)

Dolma (Yarpaq Dolmasi)
Prep Time
1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs 30 mins

Dolma refers to a family of stuffed grape leaves or vegetables, widespread in the Middle East, Western Asia and Mediterranean regions.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Azerbaijani
Servings: 65 dolmas

Ingredients

1 lb ground lamb and/or beef
1 onion , finely chopped
⅔ cup rice (short or medium grain), washed and drained
1 small bunch cilantro , chopped
1 small bunch dill , chopped
15 fresh mint leaves , chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
65 fresh vine leaves (or canned)
4 tablespoons butter , melted
½ cup water

Garlic yogurt

½ cup plain yogurt , mixed with 2 chopped garlic cloves

Equipment

Dolma wrapper (optional)

Instructions
Filling

In a large bowl, mix the ground meat, onion, rice, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and knead vigorously for 5 minutes.

Dolmas

- If using fresh grape leaves, blanch 10 at a time in a large saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. This will soften the leaves and make them easier to roll. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon. Cut the stems or hard veins.
- If using canned leaves, place them in a large colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Cut stems or hard veins. If canned leaves are too thick, blanch in boiling water, in the same manner as fresh leaves, but only for one minute, then drain.
Place the shiny side of the grape leaf down on a board or in the palm of your hand, and place 1 teaspoon of stuffing at the basis of the stem of the leaf. Fold the lower end of the sheet up, then fold its sides over the filling and roll.

You can also use a dolma wrapper for a quicker and easier process.
In a Dutch oven or non-stick pot, place the stuffed grape leaves, close to each other. You can make several layers if necessary.
If using fresh grape leaves, sprinkle a little salt between each layer.
Pour the melted butter over the grape leaves and add the water.
If necessary, place a small lid or a small plate on top of the dolmas to keep them tight and to prevent them from opening.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low heat and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours or until the leaves are tender.
Serve dolmas hot or warm accompanied by garlic yogurt.