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Zeytinyağlı Biber Dolma

6 large green bell peppers

1 cup/200 g short grain rice

½ cup olive oil

2 tbsp currants

2 tbsp pine nuts

1 tbsp dried mint

6 medium onions, finely chopped

1 tomato

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

2 cups/500 ml hot water

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup fresh chopped herbs- parsley and dill

Filling

Put the currants in hot water to allow them to swell; drain and put to one side. Soak the rice in hot salted water for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

Heat the ¼ cup oil in a deep pan and gently sauté the pine nuts until golden. Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft. Add the drained rice, currants and spices, stirring gently to ensure the rice grains are evenly coated.

Add the 1 cup hot water, salt, and sugar, stir once and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the cooking liquid is absorbed and steam holes appear in the surface of the rice. It is important not to stir the rice during this time. Remove from the heat, cover the top of the pan with a cloth, replace the lid and set aside to cool for 20 minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the herbs and combine gently with a wooden spoon. The rice stuffing is now ready in to vegetables of your choice!

Carefully cut a thin slice from the stem end of peppers and take out the seeds. Stuff the peppers with the rice mix with a spoon or your hand. Cut small pieces from 1 tomato to cover the top part of peppers. Press the tomato slice down a bit so that it won’t come out.

Place the dolmas in an oven dish which is as tall as dolmas. Pour 1 cup of boiling water on top.

Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, hot water, sugar and salt and pour over. First let it boil for 5 minutes on stove. Then, bake it in a moderate oven at for 35-40 minutes until rice is cooked and tops are browned. Check them regularly if you don’t want to burn the tops. Set aside to cool.