For the last several years, I lived in a primarily Greek neighborhood in New York City. Astoria, Queens is an extraordinarily diverse hub of young and old alike, but the signage and the food is what tells the visitors that they've just entered a little version of Europe.
I confess that I don't like a lot of Greek food, but one thing I fell in love with was the dolmas, a.k.a. stuffed grape leaves. These are found in various parts of the Medditerranean and the Middle East, but it's really the Greeks that put these little finger foods on the map for me.
I was very lucky because I could purchase large cans of stuffed grape leaves for a very reasonable price. I've since come to realize how lucky, because a little can here in the Pacific Northwest is probably 2 to 3 times more expensive than it is in Astoria, New York.
With the high prices and fond memories of the burst of flavor that stuffed grape leaves impart, I decided to try my hand at making them. I wound up being very surprised, because although they do take a little while to make, they are very easy! It's just a matter of setting aside some time and making sure you have all the right ingredients.
The main ingredient that may be the hardest to find are the grape leaves themselves. Unless you have grapes growing near you or you know of a store that sells them, you may have to make some calls around to figure out where to purchase them. If you know of a Middle Eastern store, you are likely to have luck there, as this is a pretty common thing to make.
The rest of the ingredients are all pretty easy to find - vegetable broth, spices, onion, olive oil, lemon juice and rice.
My name is Samantha andIwrite www.NovelEats.com, a vegan food blog where I post recipes, how-to articles and advice for people who are considering incorporating vegan food into their diets. Ialso pride … more
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Dolma (pl. dolmas or dolmades) is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions, including Turkey and Cyprus, the Balkans, many Middle Eastern countries, Iran and the Caucasus and Central and South Asia. Perhaps the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma, which is more precisely called yaprak dolma or sarma. Common vegetables to stuff include zucchini, eggplant, tomato and pepper. The stuffing may or may not include meat. Meat dolma are generally served warm, often with sauce; meatless ones are generally served cold, though meatless dolma are eaten both ways in Iran. Both are often eaten with yoghurt.