Thursday, September 17, 2009


Azerbaijani Yarpag Dolmasi

The last of the A-countries!

I made this dish on Thursday, September 17 for Andy and me. I chose this particluar dish because it is the national dish of Azerbaijan. Yarpag dolmasi translates to grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice. While the dish is very similar to Greek versions of dolmas, I read that the flavors are quite different. Recently, while at a Greek restaurant, I tried the dolmas. I liked the Azerbaijani version better than the Greek restuarant's version.

The dish is simple to prepare, but wrapping all of the dolmas is rather time-consuming; I began making the dish at about 3 or so and we ate at 5:45, an hour and a half of which was simmering time. So, wrapping the dolmas took probably about 45 minutes to an hour. The dish was good, but not one of our favorites. For me, the issue was the grape leaves; they are very much leaves, and the texture of them haunted me throughout the evening. Also, I just don't really like the flavor of them. The filling was great though. So, if you're a fan of grape leaves, you would probably love this recipe.

Be sure that you watch the pot carefully. I put it on the stove and ignored it until the buzzer went off and I ended up burning the bottom layer.

Without further ado, here is the recipe, pretty much copied from the original:

Yarpag Dolmasi

-1 lb. ground lamb or beef (I used lamb)
-1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
-1/2 c. short or medium grained rice (I used basmati, which is long grained, as it was all I had on hand)
-1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
-1/2 c. chopped fresh dill
-1 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. pepper to taste
-60 jarred grape leaves
-3 T. butter, melted
-1/2 c. water
-1 c. plain yogurt
-2-3 cloved garlic, peeled and crushed (I used 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic)

1) Combine meat, onion, rice, cilantro, dill, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Knead thoroughly.
2) Rinse grape leaves in batches under cold water and drain.
3) Hold a grape leaf shiny side down on the palm of your left hand, and place 1-2 tsp. of the filling at the stalk end of the leaf. With your right hand, fold top, then the sides over the filling and roll up tightly.
4) Arrange the stuffed grape leaves close together seam side down in a medium non-stick pan, making several layers.
5) Pour butter over the grape leaves and add water. Place a small lid or a small ovenproof plate on top to keep dolmas tight and prevent them from opening. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for one hour and 30 minutes, or until the leaves are tender and the filling is cooked. There should be little liquid left, recuced to the oily consistency.
6) While the dolmas are simmering, combine the yogurt and garlic.
7) Serve hot with garlic-yogurt sauce scooped on top.

Serves 4-6

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