Dolma with Lamb Chops

Zaynab, who grew up in New York and now calls Dubai home, combines her Iraqi heritage and multi-cultural experiences to create mouth-watering fare for her family and friends. Impress your guests this season with her show-stopping dolma!
Dolma with Lamb Chops
ITP Images
Dolma with Lamb Chops
November 27, 2018
Level Intermediate
Preparation Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cooking Time 1 hour plus 30 minutes to settle
Serves 10-12

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.

PHOTO BY Efraim Evidor
RECIPE BY Zaynab Obaydi


6-7 lamb chops
10 yellow onions
4 capsicums
20 courgettes
4 tomatoes (optional)
1 bag of frozen fava beans
1kg spinneysFOOD Beef Lean Mince
½ tsp spinneysFOOD Sea Salt
½ tsp turmeric
4-6 tbsp sumac
1 cup rice
4-6 tbsp pomegranate syrup per layer
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups of water


  • To prepare the vegetables

  • 1

    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

  • 1

    Place the lamb chops on the bottom of a large pot. Sear. Remove from heat and set aside

  • 2

    Mince the excess flesh from the vegetables (apart from the capsicums)

  • 3

    Add beef, salt, turmeric, sumac and rice to the minced vegetables

  • 4

    Allow the mix to sit for 30 minutes so that the flavours come together

  • 5

    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

  • 6

    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

  • 7

    Top the final layer with fava beans

  • 8

    Mix tomato paste with water and pour over the vegetables

  • 9

    Place a plate that fits snugly into the pot over the vegetables to hold everything in place

  • 10

    Place the lid on the pot

  • 11

    Allow to cook for 1 hour (when the water begins to disappear, lower the heat and let it cook slowly)

  • 12

    Remove from the heat and allow to settle for 30 minutes


Top Tip! When placing in the pot, try to have the vegetables placed tightly next to one another to seal any of the openings. Avoid opening the pot too much to prevent the dolma from breaking.


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