Dolmades Stuffed Vine Leaves

A Traditional Dish in Cyprus

Dolmades are a traditional dish in Cyprus that holds a special place in Cypriot cuisine. These delectable stuffed grape leaves are filled with a flavourful mixture of rice, pine nuts, and aromatic herbs, creating a dish that is both savoury and refreshing.

Preparing the Dolmades

The preparation of dolmades is a time-honoured tradition that has been passed down through generations in Cyprus. The process begins with carefully selecting the grape leaves, which are then blanched to achieve a tender texture while retaining their vibrant

Dolmades Cypriot Dish

green colour. The filling, consisting of rice, pine nuts, onions, and a medley of herbs such as dill, mint, and parsley, is meticulously seasoned to infuse the dolmades with rich, aromatic flavours.

Once the grape leaves are prepared and the filling is skilfully combined, the next step is to assemble the dolmades. Each grape leaf is delicately filled with a small portion of the flavourful rice mixture and then meticulously rolled into a compact parcel, ensuring that the filling is securely encased within the leaf.

Cooking the Dolmades

After the dolmades are carefully arranged in a pot, they are gently nestled together to create a beautiful display before being cooked. A combination of water, olive oil, and lemon juice is poured over the dolmades, infusing them with a delightful tangy essence. The pot is then simmered over low heat, allowing the

Dolmades Served in the Plate

dolmades to slowly cook and absorb the harmonious flavours of the cooking liquid.

The result is a tantalizing dish that showcases the expertise and dedication of Cypriot culinary tradition. The dolmades emerge from the pot tender and bursting with the vibrant flavours of the filling and the fragrant grape leaves. The combination of tender grape leaves and the savoury rice filling creates a harmonious blend of textures and tastes that is truly irresistible.

The Dolmades are Often Enjoyed as Part of a Mezze,

In Cyprus, dolmades are often enjoyed as part of a mezze, a selection of small dishes that are shared among diners, allowing them to savour a variety of flavours and textures. Whether served as an appetizer or as part of a main meal, dolmades are a beloved dish that exemplifies the rich culinary heritage of Cyprus.

The art of preparing dolmades is not merely about assembling ingredients; it is a celebration of tradition, skill, and the joy of sharing a beloved dish with family and friends. With each bite, the flavours of Cyprus come to life, inviting all who partake to experience the rich tapestry of Cypriot cuisine.

How to Make the Dolmades

1 tablespoon olive oil                                                                                                                                          2 onions, minced                                                                                                                                                  1 ½ cups uncooked white rice                                                                                                                            1 1/2 cups hot water, or as needed to cover                                                                                                    2 tablespoons tomato paste                                                                                                                              2 tablespoons dried currants                                                                                                                              2 tablespoons pine nuts                                                                                                                                      1 tablespoon ground cinnamon                                                                                                                        1 tablespoon dried mint                                                                                                                                      1 tablespoon dried dill weed                                                                                                                              1 teaspoon ground allspice                                                                                                                                1 teaspoon ground cumin                                                                                                                                    1 (8 ounce) jar grape leaves, drained and rinsed in warm water

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice, and then add enough hot water to cover. Cover and simmer until rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in tomato paste, currants, pine nuts, cinnamon, mint, dill, allspice, and cumin. Let mixture cool, about 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare a large pot by placing an inverted plate on the bottom; this will protect the dolmades from direct heat during steaming.
  4. Cut off and discard any grape leaf stems. Place about 1 teaspoon cooled rice mixture into the centre of a leaf. Fold in the sides, and then roll into a cigar shape. Place into the prepared pot. Repeat to make remaining dolmades.
  5. Pour in just enough warm water to reach the bottom of the first layer of dolmades. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, or until rice is totally cooked. Check the water level often and add more as necessary.

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