Probably, the Greek dolmades are the most worldwide famous stuffed grape leaves rolls! These delicious roulades filled with a traditionally vegan mix of rice, onions, and herbs, are popular, with some variations, not only in Greece, but also in several other regions of the Middle Eastern, Turkic, and Balkans areas. I love to serve Dolmades as an appetizer, or into a selection of small plates for my parties. Here the recipe and the history of Dolmades!
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ORIGIN OF DOLMADES
The origin of Dolmades (sing. Dolma) is ancient and unknown. Rolls made with grape leaves and stuffed with various ingredients are present into the cuisines of the Turkic, Balkans, and Middle Eastern areas.
Likely, the term Dolma derives from the Turkish word Dolmak (that means “to fill”) and describe plenty of different recipes that have in common a vegetable leaf rolled and filled with different stuffing.
Dolmades are a symbol of conviviality and protagonist of the Meze (or Mezze): a traditional meal composed by dozen small plates traditional in Greece, Balkans, North Africa, and the Middle East.
During the Meze, the tablemates share the dishes symbolizing generosity and sympathy for their fellows.
GRAPE LEAVES PROCESSING
The grape leaves need a particular process to become edible.
The Leaves are rinsed thoroughly, then poached into boiling water a few minutes until tender enough to be easily rolled.
After that, the leaves are immersed in a bath of iced water to preserve the color and stop the cooking.
The grape leaves are then preserved into a brine composed by salt and water.
STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES VARIATIONS
Depending on the country these stuffed rolls have different names and ingredients.
The Sephardic Jews call them Yaprakes Finos: grapeor morus leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, tomatoes, and onions.
In Iran is traditional to prepare rolls called Dolma Bargh, grape leaves stuffed with rice, bulgur, peas, cilantro, and spices.
In Armenia, the stuffed grape leaves are called Yalachi Sarma and filled with rice, parsley, tomatoes, and cinnamon.
Likely, the Greek Dolmades are the most famous stuffed grape leaves (or rarely cabbage leaves).
The classic stuffing of Greek Dolmades is traditionally vegan and composed of rice, onions and mixed herbs.
On the other hand, traveling In Greece, I often tasted exquisite variations.
For instance, in Thessaloniki, I recently ate Dolmades stuffed with grilled sardines: delicious!
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
GRAPE LEAVES – to roll a standard size dolma you need of a large grape leaf. Often the canned grape leaves are smaller than needed, so consider to overlap partially two leaves rolling them together around the stuffing.
FILLING – As I said, the typical dolmades filling is vegan. The choice of the herbs is critical; the most traditional are mint, dill, parsley, and coriander. I suggest you to use all of them to create a delicious mixture of flavors.
SERVING – Serve dolmades warm or at room temperature, as an appetizer along with tzatziki or other sauces.
STORING – Store the Dolmades into an air-tight box and place into the fridge up to 3 days.
GREEK DOLMADES RECIPE
ONIONS AND GARLIC
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 369 Total Fat 3g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 80mg Carbohydrates 77g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 2g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 8g
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