Bell peppers of different colors coupled with a variety of ingredients make dolmas not only colorful but also extremely tasty and nutritious.
Iranian dishes excel at making people who have never tried them fall in love at the first bite. The unique combination of spices and flavorings with a wide range of vegetables, herbs, fruit, grains, nuts, meat and most importantly rice only needs the wand of Iranian cuisine to perform magic and leave an explosion of unforgettable tastes in the mouth. The delectable smell, delicious look and perfectly pleasant taste make it almost impossible to resist them. To share the gastronomic delights of Iran, IFP has decided to file a series of mouth-watering recipes for Iranian dishes.
Dolma features a variety of stuffed vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage, lettuce and grape leaves.
To cook different dolmas, you should follow all but the same instructions which start with hollowing out the vegetables and blanching them to have their texture quite soft. Besides, the filling used in different kinds of dolmas is almost the same.
What might render making this dish quite challenging is wrapping the filling in cabbage, lettuce or grape leaves skillfully enough so that they won’t fall apart while cooking. As for bell peppers, eggplants and tomatoes, a lack of such skill won’t get you into trouble. Because after removing the inside of these vegetables, you can simply put the filling inside.
Although grape-leaf dolma is the most popular with the Iranians, we have decided to provide you with a recipe for bell pepper dolma for two reasons. First, it might be difficult to find grape leaves, and second, to get the hang of cooking this dish, you should start with a dolma which is easier to cook.
1. 450-500 grams minced beef
2. 150-200 grams rice
3. One cup chopped parsley
4. Three level tablespoons chopped mint
5. Three level tablespoons chopped tarragon
6. ½ cup chopped wild leek
7. Two tablespoons chopped scallions
8. Two large onions – which should be peeled and thinly sliced.
9. Eight big bell peppers –You can opt for bell peppers of different colors.
10. Four heaped tablespoons tomato paste
11. Sugar (optional)
12. Vinegar to taste
13. Salt, ground black pepper and turmeric to taste
14. Garlic powder to taste
16. Chicken or vegetable stock
How to cook Dolmeh Felfel
1. Wash the rice a few times and soak it in brine for a few hours. Pour some water in a pot and bring it to the boil, then add in the rice to the boiling water; leave it there until it is al dente. The rice should be neither too hard nor too soft. Depending on the kind of rice, it might take a few minutes (less than 10). Afterward, drain the rice.
2. Fry the slices of one onion in a frying pan with salt, ground black pepper, turmeric and garlic powder until they turn golden brown. Add in the minced beef and fry it until it turns brown. Add in two tablespoons of tomato paste and fry it until it turns deep red. Then add some water to it and let it simmer until the meat is cooked. By the time it is cooked, the sauce should be thick.
3. Sauté the herbs for a few minutes and then add them to the meat. Afterward, add in the rice to the mix. Some people prefer the filling to have a sweet-sour taste, so they add vinegar and sugar to the mixture to adjust its taste to their liking. But you can exclude sugar and just add vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Don’t forget to adjust seasoning to make sure that the filling tastes perfect.
4. Cut off the top part of all bell peppers [without removing the stems] and put them aside; the removed round tops will act as a lid covering the stuffed bell peppers later. Hollow out the peppers. Make sure no seeds are left inside. Blanch the bell peppers for a few minutes and stuff the filling into them by the time they cool off. Then put the top back on.
5. Add in the slices of the other onion into a pot and fry them over a medium heat until they turn soft and golden brown, add turmeric, pepper and salt. Spoon in two tablespoons of tomato paste and sauté it for a few minutes. Then place the stuffed bell peppers in the pot. Gently pour some chicken or vegetable stock into it, so that the arrangement of the peppers is not disturbed. The stock does not need to cover them. Exclude the salt if the stock is already salty. Dolmas need to be cooked slowly over a low heat. The dish is served with fresh herbs [garden cress, wild leek, basil, squaw mint, scallion and radish] and flat bread.