Greek Dolmades / Rice Stuffed in Wine Leaves

Tasted these from a famous Mediterranean Restaurant called “The Med” here in Salt Lake,
one of our friend who’s from Holland introduced  Dolmades  to me & at last I got the answer to why they have these Canned Grape Leave’s –  kept for sale in all Mediterranean store’s.

What ever the topic of conversation we start – with our friend, we ‘ll end up talking about either Holland or India.
Among lot many interesting things she told about Holland was that – its a place with numerous Rivers and Lakes with an extensive inland canal and Water System. Cities with canals and bridges which makes it beautiful, during winter the water in the canal’s freezes and then they used to Ice-skate on the frozen canals…

How exiting is that !

A jar of Home made deliciousness she gifted to me  🙂

But  “Winter” again  ????
Last week we got a feel of winter here in Salt Lake , reminding us to be prepared , the Grape plants next door started looking pale, even my plants seems unhappy so am I.
Again I see people wearing short skirts – to wear it few more times before wrapping them up and start waiting for next summer 🙂

Dolmades started haunting me  since the day I had it..
Funny…..I know…..but this time it was not because of its taste but because of its looks,
wanted to try making it at least once just to know how difficult it is and also because those grape leaves in my neighbors yard keeps smiling at me when ever I open my front door.
Lack of Non veg in the filling makes it little less attractive, that’s what Soccer Man commented but still for the fun of it I made it 🙂

Ingredients

Grape Leaves – 10 to 15 no’s
White Rice – 1/2 cup
Olive Oil – 4 Tb Sp + 2 Tb Sp
Lemon – 2 no’s
Black Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp (or more ,adjust as per preference)
Garlic – 2 no’s finely chopped
Mint Leaves – a few springs chopped finely
Parsley – 1/4 cup chopped
Dill Leaves – fresh or dry (I used dried , 1/2 tsp) 1/2 Tb Sp chopped if using fresh –  Optional
Pine Nuts – 1/4 cup (Optional – I didn’t use)
or
Black-currents – 2 Tb Sp (I used Raisins instead)
Salt to taste

Fresh Mint , Parsley and Dill makes the filling perfectly perfect. 

Method

Start by plucking some grape leaves from yours , Neighbor’s   or somebody’s garden  , I am lucky to have a friendly neighbor so I cut as many leaves as I wanted 😉
Or else may buy Grape leaves in Jar from any Mediterranean shop, drain away water and its ready to use.
If using Fresh Leaves, need to blanch’em in salted water, drain and place’em in a tissue lined surface.

For the Filling

* Heat 4 Tb Sp Olive Oil in a pan , add finely chopped Garlic and Onion , saute for 3 to 5 minutes till they are translucent, add then Pepper Powder and Dry Dill (if using) saute and add rice , Nuts or Raisins

* Add then Mint Leaves and Parsley, Pour 1 and 1/4 cup water to this ,  add then the rind and juice of 1 Lemon , salt to taste and cover till the rice is almost cooked and water dries off. Takes about 10 to 15 Minutes.

* Place each grape leaves (Stem side up / shiny side down) . Place 1 to 2 Tb Sp of the rice filling to this leaves and roll’em as shown in the pic’s

* Wrap them all tightly, Keep aside.

* In an other pan , place the roll’s tightly as if kept left loose it tends to open up as the rice inside expands while cooking. Drizzle some Olive Oil all over the top.

* Place sliced Lemon on top and pour Water over these till all these roll’s are completely covered with water (if using fresh leaves pour more water as it needs to soften up and get cooked nicely.
but If using pickled leaves pour water to just cover the leaves)

* Cook for an hour in medium to low heat , till the water dries off and the leaves are nice and tender.
If using pickled leaves , reduce the cooking time (25 to 35 Minutes)

*  Serve hot with Tzatziki Sauce (Greek – Yogurt Sauce), Recipe yet to be uploaded 😦
    Check out Tzatziki Sauce YouTube Link – Recipe for that Flavorful Yogurt sauce.

And Soccer Man’s  Review :  If you feel like having “Dolmades” we’ll visit “The Med”
                                                Please Don’t make these again 😦

                                                Hmmm  Well …that’s because he’s not a fan of these…

Notes : But something went wrong with the leaves here and now (after researching) I know its because these Grape leaves should have been plucked during peak Spring time , when its nice and tender….my Grape leaves here were more fibrous , but I must write – the filling was awesome 🙂
Do use pickled Grape leaves if its not Spring season.

Some more Mediterranean food from “The Med”
Isn’t it Tempting ?
                                           

Watch YouTube Link Greek Dolma Recipe (Non Vegetarian) here – For Non vegetarian filled Dolma.

Happy Weekend 🙂

Cheers
TN

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