Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dolmades (the Greek way)

I thought I'd make up for my lo-fat day yesterday, so I...uh...did.

Here you see homemade pita bread, baba ganoush, Bryanna's "Bulgarian"-style tofu yogurt, zucchini salad with garlic, olive oil, and sherry vinegar, white beans (somewhat over)baked with rubbed sage and olive oil, and dolmades. Oh, and vegan okara hot dogs, which I was experimenting with. What a great meal! I ate so much my stomach hurts. Which shouldn't be the mark of a great meal but sometimes it just is.

Recipes for baba ganoush are everywhere. This one was from the Candle Cafe Cookbook, and especially interested me because it called for a significant amount of vegan mayonnaise. However, and unusually, the Veganaise didn't end up making the baba ganoush taste any more stupendous than it normally would, so I won't bother with it next time.

I'll just focus on the dolmades for this post. Readers of this blog may recall that back in February I made another kind of dolmades that were baked in vegetable stock. They were good, but this is the real deal. I was working from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, but there are many recipes for stuffed grape leaves out there. The real secret to making them great is the way they're cooked.

This filling was a mixture of parboiled jasmine rice, ground almonds, green onions, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Roll it up in grape leaves, and place the rolls in a heavy-bottomed pan. They can be up to three layers deep if they have to be, but one or two is usually best:

Now make a sauce of lots and lots of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and a little water, and pour it on:

Simmer for about an hour, covered, until the rice is fully cooked and all the liquid is absorbed. You, too, will eat until you're sick. It's good warm or at room temperature, but you and your guests will most appreciate it if you're around to smell it while it's simmering.

And while I was hanging about in the kitchen, I did another little okara experiment. This was just a small batch of "hot dogs" but the experiment wasn't so much making them in that shape as increasing the amount of okara per cup of gluten flour. The proportions were:

1 cup gluten flour
1/2 cup okara
2 tbsp chickpea flour
+ various spices and seasonings of choice

Success! These dogs could have been cooked on a stick over an open fire. I pan fried them, however, after steaming them individually wrapped in tinfoil for an hour.

Not bad (these ones are the steamed ones right out of their packets)!


  1. Amazing meal! Can hardly wait to see those "dogs" on a stick roasting over an open fire....

  2. This certainly looks and sounds delicious but I may have to just imagine cooking dolmades in lots and lots of olive oil. :)

  3. Thanks, Moon Goddess! Glad to see you're back online.

    Andrea, no, no, you have to try them, if only just once. Imagining it just won't be the same ;-)

  4. That does look like a fabulous meal...I would have eaten too much too. I had no idea you were supposed to cook the dolmades...this way sounds wonderful. I made some a few weeks ago and just ate them raw...had no idea about cooking them...this sounds wonderful; I have loads of grape leaves left in the fridge, so will be trying this soon. Thanks!

  5. Dolmas! I'm definitely making these as soon as our grape has some leaves on it. I have to say mayonnaise (vegan or otherwise) in babaganoush is the strangest thing I've heard in a while :)

  6. Rose, you are in for a treat, whether you cook them in an oily sauce as I did, or in a less fattening vegetable broth.

    Noa, no kidding. That's why I had to try it. But it was strange, you couldn't taste the Veganaise at all and if I hadn't made it I wouldn't even have known it was there...just curious, do you ever get grapes on your vine?