Delicious Dolma… stuffed peppers, aubergines & tomatoes
In a previous life (well… it certainly feels that way sometimes)! I have travelled quite extensively throughout Europe, Middle East and North Africa. In the latter two areas, food and eating out has never been a problem as there is always something traditional to try which just happens to be vegetarian. 🙂
One of my favourite Middle Eastern foods has to be dolma. The word ‘dolma’ literally means ‘stuffed’ and although there are many many many different variations, the base of the recipe is always rice with spice, usually currants and often pine nuts (meat is also used but not here)! Traditionally especially in Turkish cooking, the word dolma actually relates to the stuffed vegetables, whereas the word ‘sarma’ is the type of dolma made from vine leaves all wrapped up into neat little parcels. The vegetables which are usually stuffed are aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes and peppers. Many traditional recipes bake the vegetables in water or stock which makes the vegetables very soft, but at least enables the rice to be cooked. As I would prefer my vegetables to remain bright and colourful, full of flavour and with a bit of bite, I have used an alternative method for cooking the dolma. This recipe won’t take hours and hours of your day 🙂 this was prepared as a quick meal when we had friends over for lunch.
- 10g coconut oil
- 100g (1 medium) onion diced
- 30g pine nuts
- 30g raisins (or currants)
- 200g chickpeas (cooked and drained / tinned)
- 200g freshly cooked brown rice
- 1/2teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon dill
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh mint
- Selection of ‘stuffable’ vegetables. We used mini aubergines (8), tomatoes (4) and small peppers (10)
- Melt the coconut oil and cook the onion until changing colour. Add the pine nuts and raisins
and continue to cook for a further two minutes.
- While the onions are cooking, start preparing the vegetables. Cut tomatoes and aubergines in half and scoop out the insides.
Carefully slice a lid in the top of the peppers and peel the seeds and membrane out. Larger vegetables (standard aubergines or courgettes) can be cut in half widthways and stood upright.
- Chargrill the shells over an open flame until blackened to your liking.
- Add the chickpeas and freshly cooked rice to the onion mixture in the pan and mix in.
- Sprinkle over the salt, garlic, cinnamon and dill and stir to combine.
- Chop the fresh parsley and mint, scatter over the rice mix and turn off the heat.
- Spoon the rice mixture into the vegetable cavities and place on a baking sheet.
- Cook at Gas Mark 6 (400f / 200c) for 15 minutes.
Serve & Store
- Ideally these should be made and eaten immediately.
- If storing, cool quickly and refrigerate. Sprinkle water over the rice mixture and reheat until hot (not warm).
- Serve these with salad for a tasty lunch, or add a selection of vegetables (roasted with fresh herbs such as rosemary or bay would be great).