I have seen stuffed cabbage recipes in almost every cuisine of the world. This is the basic Persian version. Every household has its favorite ingredients or ratio of. This dish is also somewhat time-consuming, but one loved by many.
Stuffed Cabbage • Dolmeh Kalam • دلمه کلم
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
◊ Instead of blanching the cabbage: A day before preparing the dolmeh, rinse, dry and core the cabbage. Place cabbage head in a plastic bag, tightly sealed, put in freezer and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer, thaw for few hours before use. Carefully peel away leaves and stack.
◊ Other option is, once the cabbage is cored, it does peel off easily. If this is the case, before freezing, core, peel as many leaves as you can/need, stack the leaves, put the rest of the cabbage (if using) in the center and then freeze in a tightly sealed plastic bag. Let it thaw before use.
2. Preparing the greens and seasoning
• 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
• 2 Tbsp mint, chopped finely -or- 1 tsp dried
• 2 Tbsp dill, chopped -or- 1 tsp dried
• 1 Tbsp tarragon, chopped -or- 1 tsp dried
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 2 Tbsp apple-cider/red wine vinegar or fresh lime juice
◊ Prepare herbs, place in a big bowl and add spices and seasonings.
3. Preparing the rice
• ¾ cup rice (preferably basmati rice)
• 1 tsp salt
• 1½ cup water
◊ Combine ingredients and bring to a boil on high. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Test if cooked. Drain if needed and set aside to cool.
4. Preparing the yellow-split-peas
• 1/3 cup yellow-split-peas (must be slow cook grade )
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 cups water
◊ Combine ingredients and bring to a boil on high (scoop out the foam). Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes, or until cooked. Drain and set aside to cool.
5. Prparing the meat
• 1½ Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 large onion = 240 gr / 8.5 oz diced small
• 2/3 lb ground beef, lamb or turkey (see  for vegetarian/vegan option)
• 1 clove garlic minced
• ¼ tsp turmeric
• 2 Tbsp tomato paste
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp ground black pepper
• 1 cup hot water
◊ In a medium-size frying-pan or sauce-pan with lid, heat oil on medium-heat and add chopped onion. Sauté until edges begin to brown. Add meat, garlic and sauté thoroughly. Add turmeric, tomato paste, salt, pepper and hot water. Stir, cover and simmer until all water is evaporated (about 30 minutes). Set aside to cool.
6. Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F
7. Preparing the stuffing: Add cooked rice, cooked yellow split peas and cooked meat to the bowl with the herbs, and mix well.
8. Seasoning for dolmeh’s to cook in
• 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 6 Tbsp sugar
• ½ cup apple-cider, red wine vinegar or fresh lime juice
• smidgen ground saffron
• 1~2 cups hot water
◊ Mix sugar, vinegar and saffron well.
9. Directions to prepare for cooking
◊ In an oven-safe 33 cm x 23 cm x 5 cm deep (13” x 9” x 2” deep) Pyrex or serving dish, add oil and line the bottom of the dish with odd-sized or torn cabbage leaves.
◊ Starting with the larger leaves, using a dinner plate, place the cabbage leaf with its vein side down. Top with 3~4 tablespoonful stuffing (better if you squeeze the stuffing tightly into an egg shape) on the leaf and wrap from the delicate side of the leaf toward the thicker side. Roll up the leaf, folding in the side-ends so the stuffing is well sealed in. Place the rolled dolmehs tightly against each other over the layered leaves (with rolled-end facing down).
◊ Pour vinegar/sugar mixture all over. Place another layer of odd shaped or leftover leaves over the lined dolmehs. Add enough hot water to barely cover the dolmehs. Cover with foil tightly and bake for 60 minutes. **At 30 minutes and 50 minutes check baking dish to make sure its liquid has not totally evaporated. Add hot water if needed. When it is fully cooked, some liquid should remain at the bottom of the baking dish.
◊ Take out of the oven and let sit for 10~15 minutes before serving.
Option:  For vegetarian/vegan, skip the meat (but add caramelized onion and garlic), replace meat with additional rice, yellow-split-peas -or- 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts -and- also, 1/3 cup raisins, dried currants or cranberries.
Warning: Especially for children — assist them in cutting the cooked cabbage into small pieces.
It is hard to chew the fiber/veins and swallowing process may be dangerous.
~ 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).