You say dolmades, I say dolmas

In the end, they’re all the same.  I was making dolmas the other night for a supper club, for the 2nd time in about 8 years because they are a food that I do not enjoy preparing but thought I’d give them another try.  I have wondered about the difference in the two names so did a bit of research.  And, it’s not rocket science.  Based on various sources, dolmas OR dolmades is just the plural form of dolma.  So on we go.

I checked out several recipes and after weighing my options I went for Tyler Florence’s.

I made a couple substitutions because I had them on hand and they wouldn’t alter the taste too much:

-almonds vs. pine nuts

-veggie vs. chicken stock

-dry vs. fresh dill

So to begin, prep the onion, fennel, lemon zest.

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Saute the onion, fennel, nuts, zest and rice…ahh, smells good. Then add some stock and when done stir in dill, parsley, S&P.

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Then you blanch the grape leaves.  I think this is what the recipe I used years ago didn’t have me do so that caused tearing (both ripping and water coming out of my eyes from frustration) issues.  You do that for 5 minutes.

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Then the true work begins.  Get those leaves separated.  Have one ready, put about 2 tablespoons of mixture in the center, be strategic in rolling (all in the recipe), then place in a dutch oven.  You roll and roll, then roll some more.  Eventually you run out of filling.

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You put the pot on the stove, put some stock to cover the dolmas half way, some olive oil and lemon juice.

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They cook for about 30-40 minutes and voila!  I was a bit disappointed in mine.  The rice wasn’t quite done, but I didn’t determine this until too late.  I made, I ate, I will next time and thereafter forever enjoy them from elsewhere (aka restaurant or storebought).

7 thoughts on “You say dolmades, I say dolmas

  1. Great blog. I was wondering this myself. In my family we make “Dolmades” with mint; dolmadakia when we’re feeling affectionate. I was recently in Crete where I ate some of the most delicious “dolma” of my life – made with a mountain sage that seemed to bring the whole fragrant island into your mouth. What geniuses those Greek ancestors were: to make something out of a vine that could fill you up so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are delicious- however, domas were invented by the Turks. The word is actually from the Turkish word “dolmar” – to stuff.
      Dolmades is the greek plural ending after the dish was adopted in Greece.


  2. interesting. the recipe i found (my 1st & only, b/c i liked them so much) calls for sautéeing onion in olive oil, adding ground lamb (i’m hoping ground pork will also work, b/c i’m getting away from eating baby animals), then rice, pine nuts, tomato paste, dill & water; simmer this mixture until water is absorbed & rice 1/2-cooked. cool, then roll, putting imperfect leaves on bottom of pan & in between layers, cover all but top layer w/ water. put sm plate on top of rolls, press down gently, bring to boil then reduce heat & simmer until water is all gone. there were 2 caveats: 1. if using fresh leaves, blanch them 1st & add salt & pepper to taste, if using canned, do not blanch & omit salt.
    i have never used canned leaves b/c they grow wild abundantly where i live (& actually just about everywhere. just look on the side of the road, esp if u see a vine spiralling up a telephone pole or tree), so i can’t address the blanching of canned leaves issue. i have had them when eating out & they often have mint in them, which i REALLY don’t like.


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