Dolmadakia are delicious little parcels with a savoury filling.
Dolmadakia are delicious little parcels with a savoury filling. 123rf

The Weekend Cook: Dolmades are delicious

DOLMADAKIA, or dolmades as we call them often in Australia, are delicious little parcels that come to us via several Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries.

Generally, meatless dolmades are served cold, while those that include meat are served hot. It's not a hard and fast rule; when I make today's recipe, I often enjoy the leftovers cold the next day.

Vine leaves are widely available in delis and specialty food stores; they are preserved in brine and must be well rinsed before use.

Dolmades are't difficult to make, but they are fiddly so leave yourself plenty of time to prepare them.

Chicken and pistachio dolmades



half a bunch mint, divided

1 cup plain yogurt

2 1/2 cups long grain rice, uncooked

250g chicken mince

2 tbs flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 cup pistachio kernels, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

juice of half a lemon

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

2 tbs tomato paste

preserved grapevine leaves, stalks removed

3 tomatoes, sliced thickly

1 lemon, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

extra parsley and mint, to serve

METHOD: Finely chop half the mint; stir three tablespoons through the yogurt, cover and refrigerate. Combine the remainder of the chopped mint with the rice, mince, chopped parsley, pistachios, green onions, oil, lemon juice, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.

Rinse the grape leaves well to remove brine. Place two tablespoons of the mixture, in a finger shape, toward the stalk end of a leaf. Roll up, tucking in the ends as you go. The rice will expand as it cooks.

Line the bottom of a heavy-based saucepan with tomato, lemon and garlic slices, and any torn vine leaves. Pack the dolmades in leaving a little space for expansion.

Weigh down with a plate and add boiling water to the rim of the plate. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Season to taste with pepper and serve with minted yogurt and extra mint and parsley.

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