I really love to eat dolmeh, any dolmeh and the great thing is, you can use almost any vegetable for dolmeh. Dolmeh y Kalam is a recipe I learnt from sister-in-law who is from the north west of Iran and so this recipe is probably a regional variation. You can substitute the cabbage leaves for aubergine, potatoe, peppers, onions and leave out the meat if you want to make it vegetarian. There are specific differences in the herbs you use but this is the basic method and recipe for dolmeh in general.
This is not a recipe for those who are new to Persian cooking as it’s quite fiddly and time consuming. All in all you probably need to set about 3 hours aside, at least an hour is needed for the preparation alone.
~~DOLMEH Y KALAM~~
- 1 large white cabbage
- 1/2 lb minced beef or lamb
- 1 large onion
- 1/4 cup split yellow peas
- 1 cup of basmati rice
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground cummin
- a good handful of flat leaved parsley
- a good handful of tarragon
- a good handful of dill
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- Core the cabbage and place in a large pan of boiling water. After a few minutes you will start to see the leaves of the cabbage falling away. Help ease them off being careful not to damage or tear the leaves or burn your self.
- Allow the leaves to sit in the simmering water for about 5 mins or so until the stalky bit has began to soften.
- When soft, remove from the water and put to one side to cool.
- Cook the split yellow peas in 2 cups of salted water until soft. Drain and put to one side.
- Cook the rice in salted water until soft to bite, drain and put to one side.
- Chop the onion and cook in a tablespoon of oil, add the meat and brown off.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir in. Remove from the heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, meat and split yellow peas and stir gently.
- Add the cinnamon, cummin and salt and pepper and stir.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a heavy bottomed non stick pan ( one with a lid) and heat. Take a few of the cabbage leaves ( I usually use any that have been damaged or the really small ones as they are difficult to stuff) and place at the bottom of the pan. This prevents the dolmeh from burning.
- Take a desert spoon of the meat and rice mixture and place at the stalky end of the cabbage leaf. Gently begin to roll the leaf, being careful to tuck the sides in as tightly as possible so that none of the mix will escape during the cooking process. This is quite difficult at first and it will probably take you a few times to get the hang of it. Don’t try to put too much meat mix in the leaf or you will have difficulty in rolling it.
- Arrange these in the pan layering them on top of each other.
- Add 1 cup of water and two tablespoons of lime juice, a pinch of salt and cover with pan lid. Alternatively you can cook them in the oven at about 200 oc. Some people like to cook this is tomato juice and to add a little sugar.
- Now leave to cook on a low heat for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours, checking periodically and basting with the juices.
- When cooked, gently remove from the pan and place on a serving dish.
Serve with salad, and natural yoghurt.
~Nooshi joonet ~