I love making dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). In my opinion, many store-bought dolmas are too mushy, oily and vinegary. I think a good homemade dolma should be slightly lemony on the outside and salty sweet on the inside. To achieve this flavor, this is what I do:
1.) Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Saute until slightly browned:
- chopped onions
- berries (I used dried cranberries and cherries, but you can use raisins, currents or any other combination)
- nuts (I used pine nuts, almonds, and walnuts, but you can use any combination of nuts that you have)
2.) Stir in basmati rice, cinnamon, allspice, curry powder, and a dash of dill, salt, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, and brown sugar. I also added some leftover edamame I had in the fridge, but this isn’t typical.
3.) Remove grape leaves from can. Carefully unfold them and rise in water to remove the brine they were soaked in. Stack the leaves on a plate. Leaves with holes or leaves too small to wrap can be placed in a thin layer at the bottom of a large pot. This will protect the dolmas from direct heat when steaming.
4.) Take the large pot, the pan of filling, the grape leaves, a knife, and a cutting board somewhere comfortable. Making dolmas is a time consuming process and should be enjoyed. I like rolling my dolmas outside in the sun.
5.) Place grape leaf flat on cutting board and cut off the stem.
6.) Place small amount of filling (about 1 or 2 teaspoons) in middle of leaf.
7.) Fold sides in towards middle and roll.
8.) Place dolma inside pot. Repeat.
10.) Fill pot with about 1 inch of water. Steam over low heat until grape leaves are soft (about 20-30 minutes).
11.) Squeeze lemon juice over dolmas, let cool, and serve.