Dolma is my all-time favorite Mediterranean dish! This recipe comes from my mother's-mother's family and has never been written down until a year ago. After forty-five minutes of translation and talk between my mother and grandmother, I finally have it
INGREDIENTS (for 1 servings):
- 3 cups uncooked white rice
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
- 1 (16 ounce) jar grape leaves, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 potato, sliced into rounds
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce
- 2 cups water, or as needed
In a medium bowl, mix together the uncooked rice, ground beef, parsley, allspice, pepper and curry powder until well blended.
Pour oil into the bottom of a large pot, and spread to cover. Make a layer of potato slices to cover the bottom of the pan. The dolmas should not be able to touch the bottom of the pan.
Lay the grape leaves out flat on a cutting board. Place about a tablespoon of the beef mixture in the center of one leaf. Fold sides in towards the center, then roll up from the bottom loosely. Set in the pot seam side down. Repeat with the remaining mixture and leaves. For large leaves, you may cut them in half at the center vein. Place a heavy dinner plate on top of the dolma to keep them from unraveling. The cooking pot should be about 2/3 full.
Pour tomato sauce and water over the dolma. The liquid should cover them by at least one inch. Adjust the amount of water if necessary. Bring to a boil, then cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until all liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender.
My grandma hollows out all sorts of veggies and packs any leftover meat mix in them, which is added into the layers of dolma, and they are delish! Some to try: cabbage leaves, bell peppers, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes (my fave), zucchini chunks, the list is endless!