Dolma is one of the very popular dish in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and middle east. Grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice filling, lightly spiced and cooked to perfection. Other veggies like Zucchini, bell pepper, cabbage, eggplants are also used instead of grape leaves. I became fan of Dolma after coming to Tashkent. All these years, from UAE, I never dared to taste Dolma, somehow in my mind that was some weird snack, which is not suitable for my taste buds.
Once my friend here brought me piping hot Uzbek dinner, two types of Dolma (with grape leaves and bell pepper Dolma) and Uzbek Samosa and some sweets. When I opened the box first I saw was grape leaves Dolma. My face became 🙁 immediately. Hubby started eating that one after another. I just looked at him and asked – is it that tasty you are enjoying it like anything??! In my life, first time I tasted Dolma on that day!!! Since then I decided never prejudice anything as I did with Dolma!!! Sorry Dolma for underestimating you 😀
I was waiting for summer to get fresh grape leaves. You can also use canned vine leaves which will be available in most of the Middle eastern/Asian stores. You can also get them online.
Filling can be adjusted as per your family preference. It can make without meat for Vegetarian/vegan version. Carrots, minced cabbage, mushrooms etc can also be used. There is no strict rules how the filling should be.
I cooked Dolma with Chicken stock which I had in my fridge. It definitely enhanced over all flavor. Dolma with dollop of sour cream were sooo good, as we enjoyed it for our Iftar. It can be used as snack/appetizer or serve it as your dinner.
If you had pre-judged Dolma as I did, I strongly recommend you to try this at least once. Lemme know how you enjoyed them.