Armenian Food: Dolma Recipe

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Armenian khorovats mix

Armenian Food: Dolma Recipe
Armenia is an ancient nation and has long-standing cuisine. To some extent there is present a synthesis of regional cuisines in Armenian dishes. It uses great variety of greens and spices: basil, tarragon, dill, mint, parsley, cumin, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, sumac, garlic, etc.; vegetables, fruits, crops (particularly cracked wheat, lentil), and of course fish and meat: beef, lamb, pork, and chicken. In the article you will find more information about national Armenian food, picnic food ideas, and the dolma recipe.

Among the key cooking techniques of Armenian food preparation with meat is mincing, frothing, stuffing, and other. Eggplants, bell pepper, tomato, onion, and grape leaves are widely in use. Also traditional are pickled vegetables. In spring there is a great variety of fresh plants and sprouts available on the market in Armenia. This wholesome spring products are used in snacks, pastry, salads, and soups. Armenian national bread is lavash which is a sort of flat breads. Armenian food is flavorous, not spicy and prepared with fresh products of good quality.

As concerns picnics the nation has its long-standing tradition of enjoying meals al fresco. Shashlik, kebab, grilled veggies: tomato, pepper, and eggplants, together with fresh greens and onion, and lavash – is a typical Armenian picnic food. There are several special sauces for vegetable, meat, or fish meals; delicious desserts and dried fruits (also stuffed with nuts). As a healthy and refreshing drink here you will find tan – sour yogurt with added salt and diluted with cold water. But do not try to prepare the drink yourself as yoghurt in mountainous Armenia greatly differs from typical yogurt found elsewhere. As for the alcohol drinks, Armenia is famous for its original brandy. The country produces grape, peach, pomegranate and other wines. Although the wines are delicious Armenians just enjoys a glass or two in a good company.

Below please find a dolma recipe – which is one of the most traditional Armenian food.

Dolma is Armenian food meaning meat stuffed vegetables or grape leave rolls with meat. Preparation time 30-40 minutes, cooking time: 1.5-2 hours; yields a good batch of rolls.  Be patient rolling the meal is rewarding!

500g meat mince (lamb, beef, or 1:1 beef and pork)
500g grape leaves (fresh or pickled)
1 tbsp rice
3 onions
3 tomatoes
50g tomato paste
50g lemon juice (optional)
3 cloves of garlic
150-200g sour yoghurt (matsyn)
coriander, parsley, basil
seasoning: salt, black pepper

Rinse raw rice, soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Add finely chopped onions, tomatoes, and greens, soaked and rinsed rice, tomato paste, lemon juice to the mince; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir till well incorporated.

Lay grape leaves shiny side down. Spoon the mince on one side and roll each leave carefully closing all sides. Place the rolls in a heavy-bottom saucepan in even layers (you may spread a couple of leaves on the bottom to prevent sticking). If needed add some salt and tomato paste. When done cover with a saucer, add boiling water 0.5 inch above it. Cook over low heat for 1-1.5 hours. Allow to rest 30 mins before serving. Serve with yoghurt mix of grated garlic and salt.  

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