A very popular dish to eat is the dolma. Many try to make this recipe at home, but cannot get it right. However, this recipe is perfect for first time dolma makers. Enjoy the recipe!
Today we will make plain rice stuffed dolma, in your choice of vegetable.
You can choose from: tomato, eggplant, zucchini, or bell peppers.
For the dolma filling you will need:
- 150g of short grain rice
- 1 white onion (finely chopped)
- 2 small tomatoes diced (don't add if you are using tomatoes for the filling)
- 2-3 tablespoon of oil
- 2 tablespoon of tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon powdered black pepper
- 1 teaspoon mint
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate juice
- 8 good sized vegetable of your choice for the filling
- black pepper
For the tomato sauce:
- 2 table spoon domates Salca
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 2 cups of water
Let's start with the vegetables which will be filled first. Slice the top of the vegetable and save the head. Start by scooping out the inner core of the vegetable, but make sure not to pierce the skin because then there would be a point for the amazing juices to exit. When making dolma with eggplants, try to find eggplants which are not that long; they should be small and round as this will make it easier for you to scoop the core out.
Once that is done, keep the vegetables aside (along with their head) and move on to the filling!
Take a bowl and mix all the ingredients together, except the rice and parsley that have been mentioned. If you are using tomatoes as your core vegetable then there is no need of adding tomatoes to your filling, but at the same time do not throw away the pulp which comes from the centre of the tomatoes either. Keep it aside as it can be used for the tomato sauce later on. For the filling, we need to press and mix all the ingredients together for a good 2-3 mins so that they are all well combined. Next, add the rice to it and mix it for a few more minutes until each grain of rice is coated properly. Make sure to taste the filling before adding the rice! If you feel some tartness is necessary, then you can either add lemon juice or nar (pomegranate) juice. Make sure the seasoning is not to salty, as there will be salt and pepper in the tomato sauce as well. Once the rice is mixed together, chop half a bunch of parsley and add it to the mixture, then give it its final mix. Cover it with cling film and put it aside. The reason we are adding cling film on top it to keep it away from bacteria as well as various smell that could be absorbed by the filling and give it a bad flavour in the end.
While the filling is resting on the side, we can get on to the tomato sauce. For that we should keep it simple. In a pot, add a teaspoon of oil and let it heat up. Add the tomato sauce and let it cook for about 2-3 mins. Make sure to stir frequently otherwise the paste will stick to the bottom of the pan. Once that is done, take your water and add it slowly to the pan. You will see the sauce begin to thicken. Add both the cups of water and let it cook for 3 mins. Add the seasoning at the end to taste. If you have kept the tomato pulp on the side, you can add it to the tomato sauce and let it cook for a little bit longer.
Once the sauce is complete, take the filling and stuff your selected vegetables. Make sure to add the top of the vegetable back onto the top of your (now filled) vegetable. Next, in a deep rectangular shape ceramic dish evenly stack your dolmas. Once they are nicely tucked together, add the tomato sauce in the centre of the dish or wherever you see an open space. Cook the dolmas for about an hour, depending on the size and thickness of your vegetables. Check after 50 minutes and you can feel if they are done or not. The way you will come to know if they are done is by feeling them. They will be succulent and if you taste the rice in the centre, the rice should be cooked. If the tomato sauce gets too thick while cooking, while it's in the oven you can add a bit of water to maintain the consistency of the sauce.
Once it is cooked, take the dish out of the oven and you are ready to serve! You can place the entire dish on the dining table, and your guests can serve themselves; or you could place each dolma on a plate and serve it with bulgur to enjoy this meal with your loved ones. Afiyet olsun!
A fun person who loves to cook. Love exploring new places. Always up for a few drinks with good company
Photo Credits: Katherine Martinelli, Williamo!