Turkish dolma is a dish made by stuffing rice or bulgur, and other ingredients into the grape leaves. This meal, which is consumed by many as an aperitif, is sometimes served as a main course. The Turkish dolma recipe, which is of great importance in the Turkish tradition, is divided into two as with or without meat. There are a few tips for wrapping the leaves nicely. In this respect, the characteristics of the Turkish grape leaves are of great importance.
What Is Turkish Dolma?
Turkish dolma is a food made by wrapping various internal ingredients, mainly bulgur or rice, usually with white cabbage, black cabbage, Turkish grape leaves, or cherry leaves. The historical journey of the Turkish dolma dates back to the Ottoman Empire period. It is accepted as a universal flavor enjoyed by everyone in the world. This dish, which is made with grape leaves, also has different varieties with olive oil or mince meat. At this stage, the Turkish dolma recipe differs. However, in every Turkish dolma recipe, the ingredients are mixed and then wrapped with Turkish grape leaves. It is eaten by squeezing lemon juice on top of it or putting yogurt.
Are Stuffed Grape Leaves Vegetarian?
Whether the stuffed grape leaves are vegetarian or not depends on the Turkish dolma recipe. So, it can be made without adding minced meat. Turkish grape leaves are usually stuffed using rice, onions, currants, and pine nuts. In this way, it is possible to create a vegetarian dish.
The following ingredients are required to apply the Turkish dolma recipe:
- 300 grams of stuffed grape leaves
- 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of hot water
For mashing in the mortar:
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 medium onions
- 5 cups of rice
- 1 cup of hot water
- 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon of currants
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 small piece of a sugar cube
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Fresh Grape Leaves vs. Jarred Grape Leaves
Wrapped leaves is one of the most important dishes of Turkish cuisine. In summer, fresh vine leaves are used for wrapping. Various methods are used to store the fresh vine leaves collected from the vineyards in the summer without spoiling them for a long time and to consume them in the winter months. One of them is jarred grape leaves. In this way, you can use Turkish grape leaves no matter what season you in. Therefore, when you do not have access to fresh grape leaves, you can use jarred grape leaves, in summer, you can apply the Turkish dolma recipe with fresh grape leaves.
Turkish Dolma Recipe
Before applying the Turkish dolma recipe, you should know some tips. If possible, use fresh vine leaves with fewer veins in season. If you are using jarred grape leaves, wash in plenty of water to remove the salt. After boiling for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, rinse and use. When wrapping, make sure they are as small and tight as possible.
Make the Filling
Bulgur is not preferred much in the Turkish dolma recipe. Use broken rice in the fillings you will prepare with rice, and make sure to wash the rice beforehand and drain the excess water. In this way, you will prevent the rice from being hard. If you want to use onion in the stuffing, chop it very finely or grate it and strain the excess water. To prepare the inner mortar of the Turkish dolma, first, chop the onions into small cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Fry the onions until they turn color. Roast the rice, which you have soaked in warm water for 5 minutes and drained, together with the onions, on low heat until the rice acquires a transparent appearance. Then, respectively, add the pine nuts, currants, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, sugar cubes, and salt. Add hot water and cook the stuffing on low heat for 5 minutes, then take it off the stove.
Roll the Leaves
It is important Turkish grape leaves are fully brined. If using fresh, you will also need to sweeten with some salt. If the taste of the pickled vine leaves is very salty, it is important to reduce the salt and move on to the wrapping process. In this, you will have to carefully transfer it into warm water and wait for a while depending on the salinity. Open the pickled vine leaves on a serving plate with the veins on top. In the middle part of each leaf, prepare and distribute one teaspoon of each of the inner mortar you have warmed. Wrap all the leaves tightly, taking the edges in and moving from the wide part to the tip. Cover the bottom of the dolma pot with a few vine leaves. Arrange the wraps you have prepared in a row, side by side. After slicing the lemon into circles, place it on the dolma.
Cook the Stuffed Grape Leaves
Drizzle the hot water and olive oil over the Turkish dolma. For Turkish grape leaves not to open during cooking, cover them with a flat serving plate. Cook the Turkish dolma you prepared on low heat for about 35 minutes. Serve with lemon slices, yogurt, and dill.