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Turkish Vegetarian Vine Leaf Wraps or Dolmas:
Zeytinyagli Yaprak Sarmasi

What's The Big Idea?

Dolmas - any form of stuffed vegetable, of which cabbage leaves, vine leaves and peppers are the most popular - are extremely popular meze (appetizer) dishes, not only in Turkey but in many neighbouring countries too. Vine leaves stuffed with rice is one of many classic combinations:

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 12oz long grain or basmati rice
  • 8oz vine leaves (either fresh or preserved)
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ lemon, sliced

What To Do

  • Wash and drain the rice
  • If using fresh vine leaves, cook in boiling water for 5 minutes until they are soft. Drain, and remove the stems
  • If using preserved vine leaves, simply trim away the stems and rinse
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onions for five minutes
  • Add the rice and stir fry for a few minutes. Then add the tomatoes and tomato purée
  • After a couple of minutes add 250ml of hot water and cook (stirring regularly) until the water evaporates
  • Stir in the remaining olive oil, dried mint, black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, salt and sugar and remove from the heat
  • Place each leaf on a plate. Place ½ tablespoon of filling on the wider end, fold the two sides in and roll it into a cigar shape
  • Place them tightly side by side in a saucepan. Place the lemon slices on top and add 500ml of warm water
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 40 minutes, until the water is absorbed
  • Allow to cool. Arrange on a serving dish and serve with lemon slices and yogurt

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