Today we are doing ‘dolma’ or ‘dolmades’ (in Greek). This recipe is a very interesting one. It is a staple in Caucasian, Greek, Armenian, Turkish and Azerbaijani cuisines. It is considered a national dish in these places. The classic recipe is primarily made of grape leaves, rice and in some cases meat. The taste is very umami, unique and satisfying.
However for those of us who are vegan or raw vegan this classic variation may not be suitable and we would be seeking a lighter plant-based version. This article is going to show you how to make exactly that, without sacrificing the taste.
What makes dolma taste like dolma is the grape leaves, they are fully vegan so why not experiment a bit to get what we want? Apart from that this recipe is probiotic, because grape leaves are fermented in salty water, without the use of vinegar. At least they should be.
If you buy proper salted grape leaves, they should have a milky-like cloudy residue in the liquid they are stored in. This is the sign of lactic acid and that we have chosen the correct healthy probiotic product. I have talked about that in many of my articles regarding how to distinguish a fermented product from a marinated one, in order to make a healthy choice.
So let’s get to the recipe itself.
Shredded carrot – 500 g;
Shredded deseeded cucumber – 400 g;
Juice of 1 lemon;
Ground black pepper – ½ teaspoon;
Sea salt – ½ teaspoon;
Sugar – ½ teaspoon;
Oregano or mediterranean herb spice – to taste;
A large mixing bowl;
About 15 fermented grape leaves;
A large presentation plate.
Method of preparation:
First we need to prepare the filling for the dolma. We do that by mixing shredded carrot, shredded cucumber (deseeded first), lemon juice, ground black pepper, sea salt, sugar and oregano in a large mixing bowl. We set this mixture aside for a couple of minutes for the tastes and juices of individual ingredients to integrate together.
While waiting for this to happen we can open a package of grape leaves. Usually you can get them in a Mediteranean or a Causasian food store in either vacuum packs or in glass jars submerged into brine liquid. Any form would suit us, as long as the ingredients are just grape leaves, water and salt, without vinegar.
We need to place a clean dry cutting board on our working surface and then place a new grape leaf on top of it with the shiny side facing towards the cutting board. Then, using a teaspoon we can start placing the filling from the bowl onto the leaf. We want to place roughly 2 teaspoons of the filling so that we can wrap the leaf with ease. We need to place the filling closer to the stem of the leaf, then we need to bend the two sides of the leaf with the filling inwards and roll the leaf in the direction towards its pointy part. Each grape leaf has this longest pointy part. Thus we should end up with a nicely rolled and wrapped leaf with all the filling inside and not visible anymore. We need to continue to do so until we run out of the filling and the leaves. We should end up with around 15 dolmas at the end and we can place all of them on a large presentation plate.
Now you can enjoy this wonderful dish with your family and friends. It is starch free, meat free and oil free. It is both probiotic due to fermented grape leaves and prebiotic because of lots of raw fiber present in the main ingredients. This dish is very delicious and at the same time healthy for the gut microflora. Your stomach will like this food for sure!