What is dolma?
Dolma is a Turkish word that basically translates to stuffed vegetables.
Is this an easy dish to throw together?
I would say this is akin to a Sunday roast or a dish prepared for a festive occasion since it requires a fair bit of preparation. The fun part is flipping it out onto a platter once it’s cooked through and had time to settle.
Where did you learn to cook dolma?
This was my grandmother’s recipe but I’ve tweaked it over the years.
To prepare the vegetables
Onions – separate the layers carefully. Smaller, inner layers can be chopped and set aside. Capsicums – slice the tops off, deseed and remove excess from the insides. Discard. Courgettes – try to find evenly shaped pieces to make coring easier. Chop up the insides. Tomatoes – Slice off the tops, core and set the flesh aside. Fava beans – keep in a bowl in a sink until all frost has gone, set aside.
To assemble the dish
Place the lamb chops on the bottom of a large pot. Sear. Remove from heat and set aside
Mince the excess flesh from the vegetables (apart from the capsicums)
Add beef, salt, turmeric, sumac and rice to the minced vegetables
Allow the mix to sit for 30 minutes so that the flavours come together
Use this mix to stuff the cored vegetables – 1½ tbsp of stuffing for onions, wrap the layer around itself as much as possible to keep tight in the pot; tomato 1½-2 tbsp (depending on the size of tomato). Leave some space as the rice will expand
Upon completing the first layer of stuffed vegetables, sprinkle generously with fava beans and pour pomegranate syrup over the layer. Continue the same with the remaining layers
Top the final layer with fava beans
Mix tomato paste with water and pour over the vegetables
Place a plate that fits snugly into the pot over the vegetables to hold everything in place
Place the lid on the pot
Allow to cook for 1 hour (when the water begins to disappear, lower the heat and let it cook slowly)
Remove from the heat and allow to settle for 30 minutes