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Sunday, February 3, 2008


Aka dolma. I realize that most people won't ever make them by hand but I had leftover vine leaves and I figured that as long as I am making them, I am going to make pictures.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup rice
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 pound (500 g) ground (minced) meat
diced raisins, optional
diced mushrooms, optional
salt, pepper, thyme to taste
~ 50 pickled vine/grape leaves

You may skip the meat and make them vegetarian.
You can also substitute pickled cabbage leaves for the vine leaves, but the taste will be different.

Edited to add: in the US you can find cabbage or vine leaves in most Eastern European or Middle Eastern grocery stores, or in the ethnic food section of big chain grocery stores like Safeway. They come in a glass jar and are usually in the pickles section.


In a skillet heat olive oil.
Saute onion, raisins and mushrooms.
Add ground meat and cook until it divides into crumbs and is no longer pink.
Add rice.
Cook for 5 more min until rice gets translucent.
Remove from heat, add spices.

Apologies for the poor quality pictures that follow - my kitchen is dark and I was trying not to smear any oil, rice or pickle juice on my camera.


Drain vine leaves.
Put leaf with the stem facing toward you. Cut stem if it's still there.
Put a teaspoon of rice and meat mix in the middle of the lower part of the leaf right above the stem.

Wrap it like a burrito:
1. Take the side of the leaf that's toward you and roll it forward once, so it flips over the filling.
2. Tug in the left and right sides of the leaf towards the middle.
3. Roll forward.

Here is the major caveat: you want the sarma to to be tightly rolled, so it doesn't unwrap when rice cooks and expands *but* you also want the rice to have the space to expand, so it shouldn't be too tight.

Sarma rolling is an art, which I don't claim to have mastered. I am happy when the majority of my leaves are not torn by the expanding rice :).

Repeat the whole rolling procedure about 50 more times :) until you run out of either filling or leaves.

Arrange sarmas, loose end down, in a slow-cooker pot.
Cover with a plate or prop them with something else that is moderately heavy and won't allow them to float and unwrap.

Pour enough water to cover them.
Drop half a teaspoon of filling in water.
Cover and cook on low until the filling you dropped in the water is cooked.

You may put them in a regular pot and simmer for about 2 hours but you run the risk of either the top layer being undercooked or the bottom layer being overcooked. The crockpot provides a more even temperature.

You can serve them warm or cold. They go well with yogurt and they freeze well.


Siri said...

Those look quite good. Is the vine leaf like a grape leaf, and where would you get them?

Ivayla said...

Yes, vine and grape leaves are the same thing. I get mine from a nearby Russian store, but any Eastern European or Near Eastern ethnic food store is bound to have them.