Thursday, 28 May 2009

My Grandmother's Treasures-1 Dry Dolma

After days over the very sad wedding event in Mardin, my roots have called me.. so my soul was back with my grandmother and my land.

When father decided to marry my mother, my grandparents had this picture taken and sent to my mother as a first step in their relationship. My mother who knew almost nothing about this town in the south got married and moved down to the frontier of Syria.

So this is my paternal family. Here is my grandmother Hasibe, always that straight and disciplined, always a great cook and always with a spotless clean home that you would liike to stay in as long as your parents would tell you "time to go".

So I decided to cook Hasibe's dry dolma and this time give the recipe here for all my friends that were asking for it lately:

Onion 1 large, minced

Garlic 3-4 cloves

Rice-1 cup of uncooked rice

Sumac juice -3 table spoons if not found in local specific shops you can boil some sumac to obtain this very dense sauce shown in number 4 in the picture

Tomatoes - Optional- 3 0r 4
Peppers-and not chillies! Optional- 3
Tomato paste -2 tablespoons
Chilli paste- bought from a local shop, if you can not find it not a big deal than alternate for a fresh sweet chilli sauce- 2 tablespoons
Minced Meat -500 gr minced by a cleaver(you can ask your local butcher and he would kindly prepare it for you, if he doesn't never mind you can survive with his cruelty and use the usual modern minced meatinstead)
Sun Dried Peppers and Eggplants - 15 pieces in total - If you can not find dried ones in specific local shops you can use the fresh ones and carve them as shown on the latest picture.
Margarine - 1,5 tablespoons (Hasibe's little secret)
Vegetable oil - 3 to 5 tablespoons
Lamb chops - 4 to 6 pieces - around 400 gr
Parsley - a small bunch
Lemon juice of a small lemon
Salt, Pepper

1- So, these are our folks, sun dried eggplants and peppers. Put them in a boiling water and cook them for 15 minutes.
2- If it is a good season for tomatoes and peppers use them generously and have them minced in the food processor. laborious grandmother had to chop everything with a good old knife in the old days..

3- Chop the onions and parsley leaves as well. I prefer these two ingredients chopped with a knife rather than the food processor.

4- Now the filling ingredients come together. Do your best to process with your beautiful hands or a good old spoon, your uncooked rice, minced meat, chopped parsley, tomato and chilli paste, chopped tomatoes and peppers, lemon juice, salt, pepper, the chilli of your choice, vegetable oil, margarine,

5- Never forget : the big elixir is the sumac juice ! But add only 2 spoons for the staffing. The 1 spoon left will be for the sauce.

6- Oil your casseroole and lay your lamb chops at the base to give your stuffed vegetables the goodness of the bones and the meat during the cooking time. The lambchops will taste great after being cooked with vegetables. They all will be happy together trust me
7- Fill your boiled vegetables gently in a way to fill them not completely but leaving 1/3 of the space for the cooked rice in the stuffing. So fill only 2/3rd of them and gently squeeze and place them on top of lamb chops siide by side not to leave any space to open up during cooking
8- Make a sauce with 1 cup of water, half of a table spoon of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of sumac juice and 2 table spoon of vegetable oil.

9- Cook them covered for 30 minutes. Check the rice before turning down the heat.

10- If you will be patient enough to wait them cool down for some 20 minutes, you may think of Hasibe and her treasures like I most of the time do and share it with your friends, family and neighbours(I never forget them! Especially Filiz, Poyraz, Dunya and Funda)


And now, for those of you who can never have the hope of having sun dried vegetables and never heard of a dolma in their lives, without really understanding why, mum was so kind to take one more picture of me showing you how to carve an eggplant

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