These Turkish dolmades are a labour of love so organise a couple of people to help you roll! That said they are undeniably delicious and this recipe is well worth the effort.
- vine leaves, either fresh and blanched or preserved (remember to rinse)
- 2-3 tomatoes, sliced
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2½ cups long grain rice
- 250 g chicken mince
- ½ red onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
- 2 tbsp finely chopped continental parsley
- ½ cup ground pistachios
- 1 tsp Turkish capsicum paste (biber salca) (see Note)
- 3 spring onions, finely diced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup tomato concasse
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- minted yoghurt, to serve
- finely crushed pistachios, to serve
- extra finely chopped parsley and mint, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Mix together all the ingredients for the filling, making sure the mix is not too wet and not too dry. Place a small quantity in the centre of a vine leaf, starting at the stem end, and roll into a small, fat cigar, tucking in the side edges as you roll.
Line a large, heavy-based saucepan with tomato slices, any torn vine leaves, the sliced lemon and the garlic. Pack the vine leaf parcels into the pan, fitting them together snugly but allowing a little room for them to expand.
Place a large plate over the top and fill the pan with water to the rim of the plate. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Serve with minted yoghurt, fine crushed pistachios and a little extra parsley and mint.
Available from Turkish stores. You could substitute ajvar (Macedonian capsicum paste).