Yaprak Dolması


yaprak dolmasi2.jpg

I was given some fresh vineleaves from a friend – thank you Angela. Well Angela had kindly brined them for me and popped them in a lovely jar.


I lived in Turkey a long time ago and I love Turkish food. For years I made yaprak dolması [stuffed vineleaves] all the time, but I haven’t made it for ages.

Yesterday I made some. I warn you this recipe has no exact measurements – exact is not so important here, well it isn’t for me. I am tired, don’t feel too good and don’t fancy being exact.

Yaprak Dolması: vine leaves (from a friend or in a packet from a shop); large handful or so of white basmati rice; handful of currants and a small handful of pinenuts; a lemon, water or light stock, bit of mixed spice (you could use cinnamon, but I couldn’t be bothered to find the jar and mixed spice was handy); fresh mint (dill would be nice but I didn’t have any); an onion; garlic; olive oil; seasoning.

Gently fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil. Add in the rice, currants, pinenuts and spice – stir to coat. Add in a little water or stock and cooked for a few minutes. Add more water if it looks too dry. You want to cook the rice about half way through – it should still have some bite to it. Season the rice and add in the chopped mint.


Let the rice cool a little and rinse the vineleaves.

in water.jpg

Put a small spoonful of rice by the stalk of the vineleaf. Fold in the sides and then fold over. You are making a little parcel.

making yapraks.jpg

Line the bottom of a casserole dish with some vineleaves. Pack in the little parcels neatly in a single layer. I overestimated how many dolma I made so I had to change to a smaller saucepan. I completely forgot to take a photo of the dolma in the saucepan!

leaves in saucepan.jpg

Squeeze the juice from a lemon and pour over with a little stock. Gently bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30-45 minutes of so on the lowest possible heat. Then leave to cool.

Yaprak dolmasi

You could drizzle with a little olive oil before eating.

Of course I made more rice mix than I needed. This is not a bad thing it means you can make another type of dolmakabak dolması [stuffed courgette].

Take two medium sized courgettes and scoop out the insides. Save these – you can use them to make mücver. Put the courgettes in a suitably-sized oven-proof dish and pop in the rice filling. Add a few chopped up tomatoes round the edges – this is optional. Add a little stock or water and lemon juice to the pan – not too much, just enough to come half way up the sides of the courgettes.

courgette with tomatoe and stock.jpg

Cover and bake in a reasonably hot, but not too hot oven until it looks done. Spoon over some of the juice while cooking. Leave to cool.

Eat both of these with cacık. Although I made them yesterday we are having them today for dinner – I think they improve overnight.

cooked kabak dolmasi.JPG

I also made imam bayıldı to go with this, but that recipe will have to wait until tomorrow.

N.B. I don’t worry about rice cooling and that type of thing – this food is just for us and I have a lot of other things to worry about. I just leave the dolma to cool a little on the kitchen surfaces and then pop them in the fridge when there is space.

5 responses to “Yaprak Dolması

  1. Looks fab. I must try this!
    I’ve got a huge and very lovely vine and I’ve been experimenting with the leaves this year, for the first time.
    We like a very simple feta and preserved lemon dolma. Our recipe is soooo straightforward. Cut the feta into small squares. Cut out the pulpy bit of the preserved lemon and discard it. Slice the rind into small pieces. Put a piece of feta and a couple of pieces of preserved lemon into the vine leaf. Sprinkle over a pinch of sumac. Wrap the vine leaves into little parcels as you demonstrate. Place in a single layer on a baking tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil. Roast in the oven/Aga for 10-15 mins. When the leaves are cooked, drizzle them with yoghurt and/or pomegranate molasses. Eat. Delicious hot or cold.

    • Oh wow, that sounds brilliant. I have a jar of preserved lemons that I made some time ago and I am planning to try making feta in the next week or so. When I have I will definitely give these a go (I still have some of the vineleaves left), I bet they taste delicious. Love the idea of having them with pomegranate molasses. Is there a particular time when you need to pick the leaves (i.e. spring?)I don’t have a vine, but there is one at the pub nearby and maybe I could ask for some leaves.

  2. Pingback: The Imam was Thrilled (and did not faint) | smallholding dreams·

  3. Oh wow! You used them! I hope they wen’t tough! I love this recipe, with sweet currants and pine nuts. Because I’ve only been to Greece I found Greek recipes with plainer rice and mint/dill flavours. Will try both soon xx

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