Dolmas are a Mediterranean delicacy that are delicious and definitely worth the work. They’re filling, full flavored and so lovely to make from your very own grape leaves.
This recipe is adapted from “Dinner at Omar Khayam’s (written by George Mardikian) by our own Shake Antaramian. (Shake works in our main office and has used a version of this recipe over the years for her family).
Please note: when using fresh grape leaves, it’s important to blanch the leaves briefly in heavily salted boiling water before stuffing. Directions are included below.
- 1 cup olive oil
- 5 cups onions, chopped
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 cup parsley chopped fine. Shake also adds cilantro and mint leaves
- 1/2 cup currants (optional)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (Shake uses fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tb salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Grape leaves
Pour oil in cooking pot. Add onions and saute until golden. Add rice and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Then add all other ingredients and cook for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
While the stuffing is cooling prepare the Grape leaves. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to two quarts water and bring it to a boil. Immerse the grape leaves (a few at a time) in the hot water for 30 seconds or until the leaves change color. Take them out of the boiling water and allow to cool. Now they are ready to be stuffed.
Put a teaspoonful of the stuffing on each grape leaf and roll it up like a package. Arrange them side by side into a pan that is lined by three or four layers of grape leaves (in order to prevent the dolmas from burning). Put a large plate over them (as a weight to hold them down). Pour 1 cup of water in the pan and cook on low heat for 1 hour. Allow them to cool in the pot, then chill them in the refrigerator. Serve as an appetizer or cold entree.
Dinner at Omar Khayyam’s: This cookbook by George Mardikian, an Armenian-American restauranteur, chef and author, was published in 1957 and has provided generations of Americans with basic Armenian recipes. For decades Mardikian was the chef owner of renowned San Francisco restaurant, Omar Khayyam’s.