Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wara Einab, or dolmades

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom, said Shirley Conran. But not too short to stuff a vine leaf, says Crofter.

Fast food, Crofter style

Here’s my recipe for cold dolmades. Actually, like all recipes, it’s a variation on another, in this case the recipe in my crumbling copy of A Book of Middle Eastern Food, by Claudia Roden (Penguin, London, 1968). I’ve abused her recipe a bit to speed it up, because life is not too short but time is precious…

250g    vine leaves
250g    Basmati rice
2          tomatoes, chopped
1          large onion, finely chopped
A big handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
One level teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half teaspoon turmeric
Salt, and a load of ground black pepper

Trim the stalks from the vine leaves. Wash, then drop for 30 seconds into boiling water.

Cook the rice till just done. Mix with the tomatoes, onion, mint, cinnamon, turmeric, salt and pepper (and anything else nice hanging around the kitchen – raisins, pine nuts…)

Take a vine leaf, put a spoonful of stuffing on the side of the leaf with the raised veins, fold in the leaf and roll to produce a thing like a… well, Ms Roden says cigar but that’s only because she’s never rolled a joint.

Put a vine leaf into the bottom of a good-sized pan. Add a layer of stuffed and rolled up dolmades. Then another vine leaf and another layer of dolmades. Make as many as you like.

Add to the pan:

15 cl    water
15 cl    olive oil
Juice of one lemon
4          garlic cloves

Bring slowly up to the boil and simmer for 30 mins.

Remove from the plan to plates. Allow to cool. Eat slowly, because life is not too short to stuff a vine leaf.

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