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Dolmadakia-Stuffed Grape Leaves

Dolmadakia - stuffed grape leaves are one of the most iconic Greek foods. With lots of dill, mint, scallions, and tender rice, they are a delicacy that can not be missed.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cretan, Greek
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 496kcal
Author by Jenny Skrapaliori Graves

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Small strainer

Ingredients

  • 60-70 grape leaves or a 16.oz jar-stems removed
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 scallions sliced. Substitute with one onion finely diced. See notes below.
  • 1 ripe tomato Finely diced or grated, juices included.
  • ½ finely chopped fennel
  • 2 cups rice Carolina
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint 2 oz.
  • ½ cup finely chopped dill
  • 2 cups vegetable broth Totally optional; you can use water instead. You might not need all of the broth.

For the yogurt sauce

  • 1 lb Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • freshly ground pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil for serving

Instructions

Fresh grape leaves preparation

  • Boil leaves for 2-3 minutes in salted water. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer in a bowl of ice-cold water. Drain leaves in a colander.
    Using a sharp knife remove the stalks and any thick nerves that may be on some of the leaves.

Jarred grape leaves in brine preparation

  • Take leaves out of the jar, put them in a colander, rinse them well with cold water and let them drain.

Stuff and roll the grape leaves

  • In a large bowl, mix the rice, scallions, dill, mint, and tomato (with its juices) with ½ cup olive oil, a generous pinch of salt, and some freshly ground pepper.
    Vegetables and rice in a aluminum bowl with a spoon.
  • Line the bottom of a large pot with 3 layers of grape leaves.
  • Place a generous tablespoon of filling in the center of each leaf, then fold the bottom sides of the leaf over the filling. Make them overlap each other.
    Fold the left and right sides over, then roll tightly to make a roughly 2-inch by 12–inch cigar shape.
    Numbered process on how to fold a stuffed grape leaf.
  • Place the roll, seam side down, in the lined pot. Continue with the remaining leaves and filling, placing them tightly together in the pot and continuing onto a second layer if necessary.
    A black pot lined with stuffed grape leaves.
  • Add the remaining ½ cup of oil and just enough warm water -or broth to cover the leaves. Place a plate upside down over leaves to keep them from moving. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, cook until the rice and leaves are tender, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove the pot and let the dolmadakia cool.
    A black pot lined with stuffed grape leaves.

Make the yogurt sauce

  • In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the chopped dill and mint and a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Serve the dolmadakia at room temperature or chilled, drizzled with olive oil and alongside lemon wedges for squeezing and the Greek yogurt sauce for dipping or topping.

Notes

  • Naturally, you will lose some of the leaves due to tearing or holes that might be already on them. Don't discard them; use the broken leaves to line the pot. The lining will prevent scorching the dolmadakia while cooking.
  • You can saute the scallions, fennel, and rice with some olive oil first and then mix it with the rest of the ingredients if you like. They will get really fragrant and sweet when sauteing for a few minutes first.
  • Grate zucchini and a small eggplant and add it to the rice mixture for another Cretan variety of these dolmades. When in the season, you can also add a grated artichoke heart.
  • Do you have rice mixture leftover? Stuff some veggies, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers with the delicious mixture. After you take out the flesh from the veggies, add it to the rice. You can bake the veggies with some broth and some olive oil in the oven. Check out this cooking method for gemista.
  • Want to make sure the dolmadakia is fully cooked? After 45 minutes, uncover the pot and carefully lift the plate with the help of a fork. Gently, take one dolma out with the fork, wait for it to cool a little, and try it. Is the rice cooked fully? If not, cover the rest of the dolmades with the plate and cook until the rice is soft and fully cooked. If needed, add a little hot water -or broth (don't overdo it with the water).
 
Nutritional Info – Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided is only an estimate and can vary based on the products used.

Nutrition

Serving: 6dolmadakia | Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 421mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 7441IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 209mg | Iron: 2mg