One of the best meals I've ever had was in Istanbul 15 years ago - at a local restaurant in a small alleyway. The flavours and textures were incredible. I'd never tasted real dolmades before - just the canned ones. They are completely different - the taste experience has stayed with me and my mouth waters just thinking of being there.
I've recently started making my own. I forage through my permaculture garden and find a range of ingredients to make seasonal local versions of this very tasty meal and I am very impressed. They taste so good!
|Pumpkin leaf dolmades.|
It may seem unlikely, but pumpkin leaves steamed lightly for just a few minutes lose their prickliness and become amazingly soft and delicious. Pumpkin leaves can be added to anything you use spinach in - spanikopita, quiche, stir-fry, soup, stew, curry ....
Here is my recipe for dolmades made with fresh garden ingredients.
Recipe: Pumpkin Leaf and Choko Dolmades
- 1/2 cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds (toasted)
- 1 ½ cups rice
- 1 medium onion
- 1 small finely sliced fennel bulb
- 1 choko finely sliced
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1/4 cup fresh finely chopped mint (and/or tulsi, parsley, oregano...)
- 1 lime/lemon freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp lemon/lime zest
- 50 young pumpkin leaves (or tender choko leaves)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Allspice
- Steam the pumpkin leaves for 5 mins and set aside to cool.
- Dice the onion and sauté with 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- When they turn translucent, add the toasted pine nuts/seeds* and sauté for 5 more minutes.
- Add rice and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes until the rice is translucent.
- Add fennel, cinnamon, lemon, pepper, dried currants allspice and chopped parsley.
- After another quick stir, add 1/2 cup of boiling water and simmer on low medium heat for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid has absorbed into the rice mixture.
- Take off heat and let cool.
- Roll a tablespoon of the mix onto each leaf and roll.
- Serve with fresh natural yoghurt or tahini sauce (recipe below)
|Put the veined side of the leaf up - place mixture near the stem end, roll once, fold sides over then finish rolling to the tip.|
Note: Normally at this point with dolmades, the rolls are then packed very tightly into a pot and simmered with oil, lime/lemon juice and water for approx 45 mins until the liquid is absorbed. However I find that the pumpkin leaves do not survive this process like grape leaves do. The choko leaves or OK with it.
* I use a flat plate sandwich maker to quickly toast seeds.
I made balls with the left over rice mixture and rolled them in toasted sesame seeds - mmm...an absolutely delicious lunchbox treat.
|The abundant and easy to grow Society Garlic - the flowers have more garlic potency than the strappy leaves. They taste great in this tahini dressing. They taste great too in pesto.|
Society Garlic Tahini Dressing
- 1 cup tahini
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water, or more for consistency
- A big handful of society garlic leaves and/or flowers (the flowers are more powerful)
- 1 lemon/lime juiced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- Whisk together by hand or in food processor until good smooth consistency
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Labels: food, foraging, gardening, gluten free, herbs, recipes, simple living