important notes before starting
- read this from ellen's kitchen about buying grape vine leaves. i use ones from turkey bottled by Krinos which is OU;
wiki has a good article with references and recipes to making dolma from other sites at the bottom of the page;
my version here is a turkish jewish one; you may of course alter it to suit your tastes or just use it as a guideline for the rolling and cooking of the dolma. if you don't like a lemony flavour, don't add it or reduce the amounts called for. it will change the final flavour however;
this version uses cooked short grain baldo variety rice. some versions will use an uncooked rice stuffing which i do not like. i would suggest even using a parboiled rice if you like your rice to remain in separate grains. the short grain varieties tend to be more sticky which helps to keep the stuffing together once it is cooked.
1 litre (28 or 36 oz) jar vine leaves, in brine
1 c turkish baldo rice, or another short or med grain white rice
2 c water
6 large dried apricot, chopped or 3 tbsp very small currants
1/4 c chopped parsley, heaping
1/4 c turkish or chinese pine nuts
1 large lemon [or 2 small]
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tbsp dried mint or 1/4 c fresh
5 tbsp olive oil
place chopped onions in 3 tbsp olive oil and fry until softened. add the rice and cook another 3 to 4 minutes over medium low heat.
add 2 c water, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes until just absorbed and no water remains. let this cool.
take out the rolls of grape leaves. rinse them well in warm water to get rid of the brining liquid. open up and trim each leaf of its stem if necessary. towel dry the leaves and stack. this is tedious but necessary. place broken leaves and leaf fragments in a separate pile as these will come in useful for the cooking and rolling of the dolma.
using some of the leaves, line the bottom of a pan. this is to prevent burning or sticking. don't skip it. make sure your pan has a well fitting lid. on top of these leaves, carefully place — seam-side down — all of the dolma. you will probably make 2 or 3 layers. put more of the left over leaves on top if you have any. measure out 1/2 c of water and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 2 tbsp olive oil. pour and place a ceramic plate over them to keep them in place as they cook.
let cool. these are always served at room temperature.