Yes, I am biased. Persian dolmehs are the best! The stuffing is more creative and richer in flavor.
This dish is loved by many, and as a result of the time involved, people seldom make it. Therefore, it is craved by many!
In Persian/Azerbaijani recipes, common vegetables (also fruits) are stuffed, such as eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, apples, quinces, onions, grape leaves, cabbage leaves and more. Stuffing recipes are similar, with minor adjustments for individual taste. In this post, I am presenting the most commonly known, the grape leave dolmeh.
Again, this is a very time-consuming dish, ~2 hours for preparation and 2 hours for final-stage cooking. Ingredients need not be precisely as I have listed. This is a basic recipe which may be tweaked. In Persian dolmeh recipes, summer-savory is one of the herbs called for. However, I am not keen on dried summer-savory. I may try fresh summer savory if I find it (¼ cup fresh or 1 Tbsp dried).
Many don’t use cilantro or turmeric for dolmeh and I have, as I love them. Experiment and have fun.
Stuffed Grape Leaves • Dolmeh'ye Barg'e Mo • دلمه برگ موو
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
6 pieces per person served as a main dish; 2 pieces per person served as a side dish/appetizer. This recipe is for 50~60 dolmehs, which is the typical number of leaves (60+) in a bottle of grape leaves in brine.
1. Prparing the greens
• 3 cups parsley (1 large bunch) finely chopped
• 2 cups cilantro (1 large bunch) finely chopped
• 1 cup scallions (8 small stems) finely chopped
• 2 Tbsp dried dill
• 1 Tbsp dried tarragon flakes
• 1 Tbsp dried mint flakes
• 1 tsp salt (for later)
◊ Prepare herbs and place in a big bowl. Don’t add salt yet.
2. Preparing the rice
• 2/3 cup basmati rice
• 2 cups water
• ½ tsp salt
◊ Combine ingredients and bring to a boil on high. Lower heat to medium and boil
for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
3. Preparing the yellow split peas
• 5 Tbsp yellow split peas (must be slow cook grade )
• 2 cups water
• ½ tsp salt
◊ Combine ingredients and bring to a boil on high (scoop out the foam or it will overflow). Lower heat to medium and boil for 25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
4. Getting stuffing seasoning together
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
• 227 g/ ½ lb ground beef, lamb or turkey (see  for vegetarian/vegan option)
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ¼ tsp black pepper
• 1 cup hot water
◊ Use medium-size frying pan, add oil and chopped onion. Sauté at medium heat until edges begin to brown. Add garlic and meat and sauté thoroughly. Add turmeric and hot water and simmer until all water is evaporated. Set aside to cool.
5. Getting grape leaves ready
• 50~60 fresh grape leaves or bottled in brine (net weight: 907g/32 oz, drained weight: 454g/16 oz)
◊ If using fresh grapes, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water.
If using grape leaves in brine, drain brine from bottle, empty contents/leaves into large bowl, cover with cold water and soak for 10 minutes. Place colander in a sink. Remove leaves,
one- by-one, and place on sides of colander in 4 batches; big, thick batch, torn/holes batch, medium size, and small size.
Combining 1 ~ 5:
◊ Add cooked rice, cooked yellow split peas and cooked meat to the bowl with the herbs,
add (1 tsp) salt and mix well.
6. Seasoning for cooking wraped dolmehs
• 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup verjuice (unripe grapes) or lemon juice
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 2 ½ cups hot water
◊ On kitchen counter, organize and have a handy assembly of mixed stuffing, cutting board
(or large plate) a pair of scissors and a medium pot.
◊ In a medium size pot, add oil and layer the bottom of the pot with 4~ 5 big, thick grape leaves.
◊ Starting with the larger leaves, place the grape leaf with its vein side up, cut the ‘petiole’ off, top with one table spoonful stuffing on the leaf and wrap from the ‘petiole’ side. Roll up the leaf, folding in the sides/ends so the stuffing is well sealed in. Place the rolled dolmehs tightly next to each other in the pot.
◊ When all the leaves are rolled and tightly placed in the pot, add the hot water, verjuice and salt. As a weight to hold the dolmehs in place, put a flat plate (big enough to cover as many dolmehs in the pot, and heavier the better) over the dolmehs, up-side down. Put pot’s lid on and simmer at medium-low heat for 2 hours. Periodically check pot to make sure its liquid has not totally evaporated. Add hot water if needed. When it is fully cooked, ½ cup liquid should remain at the bottom of the pot.
◊ Turn off heat and let pot sit for 10 minutes. Remove dolmehs very carefully (by hand or chopsticks). As a main dish, goes well with yogurt.
◊ For sweet-and-sour taste, replace turmeric with 1 tsp cinnamon and replace verjuice with (a) ½ cup sugar and 1/3 cup vinegar, or (b) mix 3 Tbsp pomegranate sauce with 3 Tbs water.
◊  For vegetarian/vegan, skip the meat (but add caramelized onion and garlic) , incorporate above option for ‘sweet-and-sour’, replace meat with 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts and also
1/3 cup raisins, dried currants or cranberries.
~ Noushe jan • نوش جان ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?
 If this products is not available at your local Persian/Mediterranean grocery stores (cheaper), here is an option and check for the best prices available at amazon.com (if delivery service available to your locality).