tasty recipes
Sarmas (Dolmas)

Stuffed grape leaves
  • 5 dl uncooked rice
  • 400 g ground lamb
  • 400 g grape leaves
  • 2 yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 lemons
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp tarragon
  • 1 tbsp marjoram
  • 1.5 tsp allspice (ground)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (ground)
  • 2 tbsp cumin (ground)
  • 1 tbsp sumac

Rinse and drain the grape leaves in a colander for 45 minutes.

Dice onion and mince garlic.

Properly caramelize onions, 45 minutes in a skillet on low heat.

Add garlic to onions for the last 60 seconds, then remove from heat.

Knead spices, onion, and uncooked rice into ground meat, by hand.

For each grape leaf big enough to stuff:

  • cut out center stem (if thick)
  • place vein-side up on a work surface
  • add a scoop of rice/meat filling
  • fold sides over, then roll into a tube
  • ensure they are rolled "medium tight" -- firm, but not stretched -- or they will burst when cooking.

Stack all of the leaves that were too small at the bottom of a large, tall pot, aiming for 20-60 leaves.

You want a pretty thick layer. You can also use meat bones. Whatever is at the bottom will burn, and you don't want it to be your dolmas.

Layer the dolmas in the pot, fairly tightly, but with a bit of room for expansion.

Weigh the dolmas down with something flat and heat-proof, with heavy object stacked on top.

A lit of a smaller pot with a glass bowl on top might work.

Juice all the lemons.

Add lemon juice (about 5 dl), 2 tsp salt and about 7 dl water to the pot. Ensure that all dolmas are covered.

Bring liquid to a boil.

Simmer on low for 60 minutes, uncovered, checking occasionally to ensure there is still liquid.

Sample a dolma and ensure the rice is cooked through. If not, continue simmering.

Internal temperature should be 68°C.

Remove from heat.

Eat hot or cold. Store in fridge for 5 days, or freeze for months.