• Dolmades with tzatziki (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

A smaller dolmade is better, or safer as there is less chance of the filling exploding. These are very easy to make, but set aside time to roll them neatly. I like to use both pork and beef in my filling, as well as pine nuts.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (12 votes)



  • 35 fresh vine leaves (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • ½ brown onion, chopped
  • 125 g pork mince
  • 125 g beef mince
  • ¼ cup flat-parsley, chopped
  • 3 tsp dried mint
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • finely grated lemon rind, to taste
  • ½ cup cooked long-grain rice
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice 
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) water



  • 250 ml (1 cup) thick yoghurt
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded, grated and drained
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tbsp dill tips 

Cook's notes

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.


Blanch the vine leaves in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the pine nuts and cook until lightly toasted. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion to the same frying pan and cook until softened.

Add the pork and beef and cook until browned, breaking up the clumps with the back of a spoon.

Add the parsley, mint, tomato paste, lemon rind, rice and toasted pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper and stir until combined.

Lay out a vine leaf, shiny-side down and place 2 teaspoons of mixture towards the base of the leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf in over the filling, then roll up tightly to form a log. Repeat with the remaining leaves until you have 30 rolls.

Use the remaining 5 vine leaves to line the base of a large saucepan. Arrange rolls tightly in saucepan.

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil over the rolls, the lemon juice and the water. Place a heavy plate on top of the rolls, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the tzatziki, combine the ingredients and set aside. 

Drain the rolls and place on a serving plate. Serve with the tzatziki for dipping.


Cook's notes

• Vine leaves are available from European and Greek grocers. You can use fresh or preserved (brined) leaves; if using the later, soak them in water before using.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel


This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.