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Stuffed Vine Leaves - Authentic Turkish Dolma Recipe

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““Dolma” in Turkish translates to any vegetable stuffed with a rice-based mixture. Lots of spices are used for the stuffing. For me, the most important one is the lemon salt. It gives a nice aromatic taste, which can not be replaced by the combination of lemon juice and table salt. If you can not locate any lemon salt, don’t forget to replace it with only half the amount of kosher salt (two tbsp will be too much) and juice of half a lemon. The process may be a little confusing, you can check out step-by-step pictures at my blog here:”
2hrs 30mins
40 dolmas

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Dice the onions and sauté with 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  2. When they turn translucent, add the pine nuts and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add rice and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes until the rice is translucent.
  4. Add the spices (dried mint, cinnamon, lemon salt, black pepper, dried currants, sugar and allspice) and chopped parsley.
  5. After another quick stir, add 1/2 cup of boiling water and simmer on low medium heat for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice mixture.
  6. Take off heat and let cool.
  7. And now, here comes the fun part. Traditionally, you would put a spoonful of the cooled mixture in the center of the top part of the leaf, fold the sides inwards and then roll the leaf like a cylinder. But since I have “The Ultimate Dolma Machine” (follow the link mentioned in the description section), I just placed a leaf on the rubber compartment of the machine, put a tbps of mixture in the middle and with a single slide, there comes my dolma from the other side of the machine. The process was a breeze. It took me only 10 minutes to roll nearly 40 perfectly shaped dolmas. Below is the process fully photographed.
  8. As the final step, spread a layer of vine leaves on the bottom of a large and heavy pot (to prevent the stuffed leaves from burning).
  9. Lay all your dolmas side by side and tuck very tightly.
  10. Transfer the remaining 1/4 cups of olive oil, juice of half a lemon and 2 cups of boiling water, cover with a plate upside down (so that the dolmas don’t move around in boiling water) and bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until all the water is absorbed (roughly 45-60 minutes).
  12. Transfer to your serving dish and let cool.

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