My Mum is definitely the best cook I know.
Making several dishes for every course doesn't phase her at all and she never cuts corners. Every part of every meal is homemade. She taught me the art of patience when making food. Instead of seeing the task ahead as a marathon, she sees it as a chance to contemplate and relax. So with that in mind, for her, making Dolmades is a doddle. It took me a while to regard cooking as a relaxing hobby but I now love planting myself the kitchen to roll up these Ottoman beauties, as I listen to my favourite music blaring through my headphones.
Dolma in Turkish means Stuffed. The Lebanese and Greeks also make a version of these delicate vine parcels, but I'm biased. For me, Mum's recipe is to die for, oozing with flavour. Eat them warm (not hot) or cold with dollops of strained yogurt and let the bursting flavours take you back to your favourite Mediterranean holiday. Time consuming but the result is exquisite.
Prep time:45 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
1.5 cups rice (Baldo rice)
2 large onions
Mint chilli flakes
1/2-1 cup olive oil
40-50 vine leaves in brine or from frozen (available from any Mediterranean shop)
Strained yoghurt to serve (optional)
1.Cook leaves in boiling water for 5 mins. Cool and drain
2.Spread a leaf on a plate (veiny side up), place a spoonful of prepared rice on them (see photo above), 3.Fold each corner over and roll them into fat little parcels
4.Place them tightly in a pan and pour one cup of boiling water on the top (or enough to cover the bottom layer), then place a small plate on top to keep the dolmades in place while cooking
5.Cook on the hob for 30 mins on medium heat or .in the oven at 180C until they absorb all the water. 6.When cooked turn off the heat.
7.Once the dolmades are cool enough, serve or refrigerate. They keep for up to 4 or 5 days.