How to make dolmades

Dolmades are delicate parcels made from grape leaves (also known as vine leaves) stuffed with long-grain rice, toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs and seasonings. Dolmades can be served as part of a meze platter or salad plate, eaten as finger food or simply enjoyed as a tasty snack. Below are step-by-step instructions for making dolmades.


Fry half an onion and other ingredients

Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook half a finely chopped onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest and ¼ cup pine nuts and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Then add a pinch of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and ½ cup long-grain rice. Cook for 1 minute.

Add stock and simmer

Add ¼ cup of chicken or vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer gently for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.

Add fresh parsley and dill

Remove the lid and stir in 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh dill. Leave to cool.

Put a tablespoon of the mixture on a rinsed and dried grape leaf

Separate 20 vacuum-packed vine (grape) leaves and place them in a large pot of simmering water for 5 minutes, drain, pat dry, then trim the stems. Next place one of the leaves, vein side facing up, on a plate and put a tablespoon of the rice mixture near the stem.

Fold the stem end over the filling

Make sure your hands are clean and dry, then fold the stem end over the filling

Fold in sides

Neatly fold in the edges of both sides

Wrap up, then repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling

Wrap up into a cigar shape (don't fold too tight as the rice will expand during cooking). Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling.

Cook the dolmades in stock, lemon juice and olive oil

Line the bottom of a large pot with any damaged grape leaves and place the rolled dolmades side-by-side (seam-side down) in a single layer on top of the leaves. Pour over 1½ cups of chicken stock, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Place a small plate on top of the dolmades to hold them in place, then bring to the boil, cover with a lid, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for 1½ hours without lifting the lid.

Serve the dolmades warm or cold

Brush the dolmades with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature.