|Nutritional Information (per serving)|
View full nutrition label
|Servings: 10 to 15|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Saturated fat 4g||18%|
|Total sugar 1g|
|Vitamin C 15 mg||77%|
|Calcium 111 mg||9%|
|Iron 3 mg||17%|
|Potassium 327 mg||7%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food portion contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.|
(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
These bundles of meat and rice wrapped in rolled grape leaves are a popular dish in Greece. Dolmathakia me kima, or minced meat dumplings in Greek, is pronounced dohl-mah-THAHK-yah meh kee-MAH.
The name comes from the Turkish word Filling, means “stuffed”; And aki means “little one,” so a dolmathakia is literally a little stuffed wrapping cloth. You'll find them served as part of a mezze platter, alongside a Greek salad, or as a side dish.
You can make this recipe using large grape leaves, which of course results in a larger meat and rice package, making it ideal for a filling lunch or light dinner. Because it is time- and labor-intensive to make, this recipe involves a fairly large batch. You can store the stuffed grape leaves in the refrigerator for several days or freeze them for later use.
A traditional side dish for dolmathakia is avgolemonoa sauce made from eggs and lemon juice.
“The stuffed grape leaves were delicious and had a nice lemon flavor. My jar of grape leaves had about 68 large leaves and only 2 or 3 were torn. I served the stuffed grape leaves with avgolemono sauce and they were delicious.” –Diana Rattray
For the grape leaves:
8th cups Water
1 teaspoon sea-salt
1 (16-ounce) jar Grape leaves in brine (approx. 70 leaves)
For the filling:
1 Cup Short grain riceuncooked
2 medium to large Onionsfinely chopped
5 tablespoon olive oildivided
2 Pound lean ground beefor lamb or a mixture of both
1 bunch fresh dillchopped
1 tablespoon Mint leaveschopped
2 1/2 Lemonsjuiced, divided
1 teaspoon sea-saltor more to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups Water
Gather the ingredients.
Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot and add the juice of half a lemon and the salt. Gently unroll the leaves (do not separate them). Turn off the stove and place the leaves in the hot water for 3 minutes.
Remove the leaves, place them in a bowl and cover with cold water. Once cooled, drain in a colander. It is not uncommon for many of the outer leaves in the jar to become damaged or tear during use. Set these aside to use later in the recipe.
To prepare the filling, first soak the rice in hot water for 10 minutes and drain. (Alternatively, fry the rice with the onion.)
Sauté the onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent and not browned.
In a bowl, mix the onion, minced meat, rice, remaining olive oil, dill, mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well by hand.
To stuff and roll the sheets, carefully separate a sheet and place it on a work surface, shiny side down. Place a heaping teaspoon (or more depending on the size of the leaf) of the filling on the leaf where the stem meets the leaf.
Fold the bottom of the sheet over the filling, then fold each side inward in parallel folds and roll the sheet up. The roll should be firm, not tight, as the filling expands as it cooks. Repeat until all the filling is used up.
Since the leaves at the bottom can burn while cooking the filling, place a plate or wooden souvlaki skewers in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot (see tip below). The plate should fit snugly into the pot.
If there are any unused or torn leaves that were not used during the stuffing process, place them on the plate or on the skewers. Place the dolmathakia on top, packing them tightly together (don't crush them), seam side down, so they don't unroll while cooking. Layer until everything is in the pot (two to three layers is best, but no more than four layers). Place several unused sheets on top.
Take another plate and place it upside down on the dolmathakia. Weight it down with something (a second plate works well). Add 2 cups of water to the pot and cover. Bring the water to a gentle boil, add the remaining juice from the 1 1/2 lemons, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 50 to 70 minutes. Check if the rice is ready. When the rice is cooked, it is ready. If not, continue cooking for another 10 minutes and check again. The cooking time depends on both the type of pot used and the specific heating element on the stove.
If you prefer, you can use a pressure cooker. No plates are needed, but use the skewers on the bottom. Place the dolmathakia in the pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water, close and cook at the first pressure mark for 15 to 20 minutes.
- If you don't have skewers or a plate that fits in the bottom of the pot, place unused or torn leaves in the bottom of the pan.
- The remaining filling can be used to make stuffed vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplant.
- To make stuffed grape leaves as a main dish, use the largest grape leaves and increase the amount of stuffing in each leaf to 1 tablespoon.
- Individual servings of dolmathakia consist of four to five pieces on small plates as an appetizer; However, they can also be eaten as a side dish or main course (especially if larger leaves are used). Serve dolmathakia warm or at room temperature with avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce), lemon wedges, tzatziki or plain yogurt on the side.
- If you plan to make avgolemono sauce to go with the dolmathakia, you should reserve some of the cooking liquid.
Here's how to store and freeze it
- Leftover stuffed grape leaves can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- To freeze leftover dolmathakia, place them in zip-top freezer bags or airtight containers and freeze for up to three months.
- Steam or microwave leftover refrigerated or frozen stuffed grape leaves to 165 F, the minimum safe temperature for cooked leftovers.