This recipe is all you need to make the best dolmas/ stuffed grape leaves! These flavor-packed grape leaves are stuffed with a tantalizing mixture of rice; meat; and loads of fresh herbs and warm spices, then cooked in a bright lemony broth
What is Dolma?
It derives its name from the Turkish word dolmak, meaning to be stuffed.
Dolma is stuffed vegetables such as zucchini, tomato, pepper, onion, garlic, eggplant grapes, or cabbage leaves, stuffed with minced meat, and cooked in a white sauce flavored with cinnamon.
However, many other vegetables can be used too, including carrots, peppers, and tomatoes. Grape or cabbage leaves are mostly used for wrapping this delicacy.
Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmas)Recipe
Now, you’ll find many variations of stuffed grape leaves recipes, from Turkey and Greece to Lebanon, and Egypt where it’s called Warak Enab (Grape Vine Paper.)
Some recipes contain meat, others vegetarian. Some contain tomato sauce, and others are cooked in a lemony broth.
Our recipe is so easy to make and can be made in these easy steps:
- Prepare the Grape Leaves
- Prepare the stuffing
- Stuff and roll grape leaves
- Assembles grape leaves in the cooking pot
- Cook grape leaves
Tips for Making the Best Dolma Recipe
Here are a few important tips for making grape leaves:
1. Soak The Rice in Water Before Using in the Stuffing. Two important ingredients of our grape leave stuffing here are cooked ground beef and rice.
It’s important to rinse the rice well to get rid of excess starch which causes the rice to be sticky. Then soak the rice for 20 minutes or until you can break one grain of rice by pressing it between your index finger and your thumb.
This way, your rice cooks evenly as the interior of the grain cooks before the exterior loses its shape.
2. Do NOT Over Stuff the Grape Leaves! Don’t over-stuff the grape leaves, remember that the filling is mostly of rice and it will expand as it cooks.
3. Roll tightly BUT allow for room for expansion. Roll the grape leaves tightly enough so that they don’t unravel or become undone while cooking, but again remember rice will expand as it cooks so don’t fold too tightly or the rice won’t cook properly.
4. Keep the Grape Leaves from Floating or Unraveling While Cooking. To do this, make sure the grape leaves are assembled in your pot with the seam-side down.
Then, add a small inverted plate on top of the assembled grape leaves in the pot to help keep them intact and prevent them from floating while cooking. Once the liquid has been absorbed, you can remove the plate to finish cooking as instructed.
5. Let Cooked Grape Leaves Rest for 30 minutes before serving. I know, it’s so hard not to immediately dig into those tasty grape leaves! But for best results, allow them to rest for 20 to 30 minutes so that any remaining liquids are absorbed and the leaves set nicely, plus they just taste better.
Once cooled, the cooked dolmas can be stored in the refrigerator for five days, or frozen for three months.
You can also form the dolmas and freeze them before cooking; just be sure to wrap them well before freezing.