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.
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.
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!
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.
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 dolma – kabak 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.
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.
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.