Dolmeh or Stuffed peppers


I just love persian ‘Dolmeh’ and the recipe is well overdue here on my Persian food blog. So here it is, inspired by my dear friend Haroot  far away in Tehran and I just wish he was here to enjoy it with me!

This is the basic recipe to use with peppers, aubergine, tomatoes or large onions and will serve approx 2-3 servings. It takes around an hour to prepare and 2 hours  to cook.


  • 2 peppers
  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 courgette
  • 1/2 cup rice ( I used Thai but any is good)
  • 1/3 cup of split yellow peas.
  • 1 lb of minced beef
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley ( jafari )
  • 1/2 chopped chives (tareh)
  • 1 cup of chopped mint (nanar )
  • 1 cup of chopped tarragon (tarhoon )
  • 1 cup of chopped dill (shivid)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron dissolved in 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of tomatoe paste
  • 3/4 spoon of advieh
  • 1 cup of tomatoe juice
  • 1/2 cup of ghooreh or lime juice
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Method ~First preparation!

  • Clean all your vegetables and herbs
  • Remove the tops of the peppers and de seed, remove the top of the tomatoes and the aubergine (put to one side~ keep the tops of the veg as you will need them for a lid later!). Scoop out all the flesh from the veg and keep for later use.
  • Peel and chop the courgette and chop the tomatoe and aubergine place in a pan and fry in  olive oil until golden then put to one side.
  • Blanche the peppers in boiling water for 5 mins and brown the aubergine off in a frying pan. The tomatoes can be used as they are.
  • Wash the rice and split yellow peas and cook together in boiling water for approx 15  mins. If you are using a different rice, adjust your cooking time accordingly.  The rice should be al-dente. 
  • Brown off the minced beef and onion, adding the tomatoe paste at the end. Stir in.
  • Chop all your herbs. If you’re using dried herbs, soak first.
  • Take a large bowl and begin to combine all the ingredients: Add the herbs to the rice stirring in gently. Then add the cooked vegetables you put to one side earlier . Add the meat and onions, a  teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and the advieh. Mix in very gently and by this time you will be pretty exhausted so take a break with a cup of tea and leave to stand for 10 minutes. First put the oven on at about 180 degrees.
  • Now you feel refreshed begin by stuffing the peppers, pressing the mix into the pepper gently with the back of the spoon. Place in an oven proof dish. and place  in your pre heated oven. The peppers are going into the oven first as they take longer. The other dolmeh will be added in a while .
  • Now prepare the sauce: Take the tomatoe juice ( or whizz a can of plum tomatoes), add the ghooreh or lime juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, the saffron water, the sugar and cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of oil and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the sauce to the oven proof dish with the peppers after about an hour and place in the other dolmeh. Continue cooking for approx another hour.

The vegetables should be tender before you remove the dolmeh to serve and test the sauce as you may want to add more salt according to you own taste.

Serve with flat bread and natural yoghurt. Nooshi joonet 🙂


Dolmeh y Kalam or stuffed cabbage leaves

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.


Ingredients ~

  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Allow the leaves to sit in the simmering water for about 5 mins or so until the stalky bit has began to soften.
  3. When soft, remove from the water and put to one side to cool.
  4. Cook the split yellow peas in 2 cups of salted water until soft. Drain and put to one side.
  5. Cook the rice in salted water until soft to bite, drain and put to one side.


  1. Chop the onion and cook in a tablespoon of oil, add the meat and brown off.
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir in. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, meat and split yellow peas and stir gently.
  4. Add the cinnamon, cummin and salt and pepper and stir.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Arrange these in the pan layering them on top of each other.
  8. 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.
  9. Now leave to cook on a low heat for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours, checking periodically and basting with the juices.
  10. When cooked, gently remove from the pan and place on a serving dish.

Serve with salad, and natural yoghurt.

~Nooshi joonet ~