Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I'm a big fan of Greek food but I realized I had never had dolmades before. I finally tasted these stuffed grape leaves at Daphane's restaurant last week. They were okay, but I figured I could make them better. Authentic dolmades or dolmas are made with a rice stuffing mixture (I'm using ground lamb in mine). Sometimes they are served with a lemon sauce but a yogurt-cucumber sauce or Tzajiki goes just as well. You can find grape leaves at any Greek, Arabic or Mediterranean food store. I was lucky to find them at my local Albertson's grocery store.


  • 1 Jar grape leaves (about 36 leaves)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup currants or raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup cooked white rice
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Rinse the grape leaves in cool water and cut off the stems; drain and set aside.

Place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablepoon olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, allspice and cinnamon. Cook until onion is translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high and add the ground lamb (you can substitute ground beef), and cook until it's no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 1 more minute. Finally add currants, lemon juice, cooked rice and chopped parsley and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat and let mixture cool.

To assemble: Place a few grape leaves in the bottom of a large 10" skillet to prevent dolmades from sticking. Stuff grape leaves with no more than 1 to 2 teaspoons of stuffing (see pictures here on how to stuff grape leaves). Place stuffed grape leaves on top, folded side down. Add 1/4 cup water and cover skillet with a plate to weigh it down. Cook over low heat for one hour, if water evaporates, add a bit more water. Serve at room temperature with a side of yogurt-cucumber sauce.

dolmades with yogurt-cucumber sauce Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce (Tzajiki)

  • 1 cup plain yogurt, Greek style if you can find it
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup diced cucumber
  • pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed
  • salt and white pepper, to taste
In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Allow flavors to develop in the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before serving.

1 comment:

CEREN said...

Hello you have o beautiful site, do you know "dolmades" is not from Greece, it's Turkish "dolma" means "fill in" in Turkish, sometimes we say "sarma" means roll.
Greek and Turkish cultures are very likely but greeks use Turkish names of the foods but say it's greek that is funny I think :) Also greek people say "cacıki" Tzajiki you mentioned, is a Turkish cold soup "cacık".
Your rolls are too thick for a non-meat version we called "zeytinyağlı" we roll the dolma thinner and longer then this version. If we serve dolma hot, we put some meat in it and roll the dolma like you ingredients differs. But if we put the ingredients you've chosen we roll it thin and long, and serve it cold.
I like your rolls,
good work,