Saturday, December 09, 2006

Stuffed Foods -- Dolmalar

Here's the first in a series of recipes translated from a collection by my Turkish mother-in-law.

Dolmas -- stuffed foods, usually vegetables -- are a delicious mainstay of the Turkish Diet. Turks will stuff almost any vegetable, and many fruits, that stays still long enough to get caught. :-) The choice of what to stuff today is usually determined by what can be bought fresh at the pazar -- the open air farmer's market. During the winter, when little is fresh, they'll stuff dried versions of many of their favorite vegetables.

Here is my mother-in-law's recipe for the basic process of preparing a variety of foods with meat stuffing. Keep in mind that I use the term "recipe" loosely. She's the type of well-experienced cook who chooses by what ingredients are available and measures by what feels right.

Also for your convenience, here's a list of ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup rice (she uses white, I would choose brown)
2 medium onions
bunch of fresh parsley
small bunch fresh mint
small bunch fresh dill
2 tomatoes
vegetable to stuff (see list below -- you'll need enough to fill a fairly large pot)
olive oil -- enough to cover bottom of pot
tomato paste -- about 1 well-rounded tablespoon
water -- enough to fill pot and cover the dolma

There are two types of dolma -- with olive oil (served cold) and with meat (served hot).

Meat stuffed vegetables:
bell pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and artichoke can all be used for stuffing.

Preparing the Stuffing:
For one pound ground beef, add 1 cup of well-washed rice and 2 medium sized onions, chopped. The onion should be chopped very fine. Chop the parsley, mint and dill and add to the ground beef. Grate two tomatoes and add to ground beef with black pepper.

Next, empty the inside of the vegetables (for example, cut the top off a bell pepper and empty and wash out the inside). Then fill the empty vegetable with stuffing.

Put oil in a large pot and add tomato paste, stirring it in. After a while, add water into the stirred paste, and warm the water. You should add enough water to cover the dolmas. Cook until tender and rice is done.

If you want the dolma to cook better, cover them with a porcelain or heavy plate, something that presses slightly down on the dolma so that the stuffing will hold together better.


Anonymous said...

Man, that makes me hungry...I didn't even know the Turks did dolmas! I eat Greek dolmades every chance I get, and when I had stuffed zuchinni I like to died from bliss...

Ginger said...

I'm sugar sensitive and found your website last week... I'm loving the book recommendations and recipes... Finally something that really has no sugar in it that sounds delicious!!

SP Sipal said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for your comments. I like stuffed zucchini as well, but my favorite dolma, actually a sarma (wrapped leaves), is cabbage. I'll post that some day soon!

SP Sipal said...

Hi Ginger, I'm so glad you found the blog interesting. Please check back soon. In the next few days I'm hoping to upload several more recipes from my mother-in-law and other family members in Turkey, as well as a great new cookbook I got for Christmas.

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