Journal » vine leaves

Dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves) - Recipe and reflections

Here is a totally back-to-roots recipe that we got inspired by those gorgeous organic Marianna's vine leaves (guess what, you can find them here).

The recipe came from several sources such as internet, mum's phone advice and our in house M&G chef. And then, while cooking memories came in from yaya's kitchen such as wrap loosely, place tidily and circularly the dolmadakia in the pan, cover with a plate.
While following the above recipe map step by step, I realised that preparing doladakia is a pleasantly slowing down activity that didn't allow checking phone/ M&G inbox but actually gave space to focus and mindfully chop/ smell/ wrap.
And yes there were reflections on women spending most of their time wrapping in different types of  leaves rice, minced meat (husband's?) and their lives at the end, but some times it really doesn't hurt to slow down and just wrap- it is messy and it is fun. 

Here is the recipe: 

  • 250g vine leaves
  • 2 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 onions, grated
  • 250g short grain white rice
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch dill, finely choppe
  • 1/2 mint or basil, finely chopped
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4cup boiling water
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons 
  • zest of the lemons
  • salt, pepper

We wash and drain the vine leaves.
We set a large pan over medium heat and add 1/4 of the olive oil. Once hot, we add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened for 8-10 minutes.

We add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. We add 1 cup water and cook for 5 minutes. We add the spring onions, dill, parsley, and mint and  remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper and lemon zest. We set aside until fully cooled.

We place 2-3 vine leaves on the bottom of a large pot and the used lemons to avoid burning of the dolmadakia and to add extra lemony flavour.

We place one vine leave at a time on a plate (bottom-side up with the glossy side facing the plate). We place a generous tablespoon of filling in the center of each leaf, then fold the left and right sides over the filling and last the tip of the leaf. We place the roll, seam side down, in the lined pot in a circular manner. We continue with the remaining leaves and filling, placing them tightly together in the pot and continuing onto a second layer as necessary.

We place the pot on the stove and add 1 13 cups boiling water, the lemon juice, and the remaining ½ cup of oil. We bring to a simmer over medium heat, then lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pan; we cook until the rice is tender and the leaves are very tender, about 40 minutes.

We serve the dolmadakia with a topping of slices of lemon, capers, spring onions and dill , with pieces of smoked eel or with Greek strained yogurt.

They look wonderful on a Sunday family table and paired beautifully with Mylonas Malagouzia.

p.s. Many thanks to Miranda for saving the day and bringing in the onions..