Arabic Cuisine; Middle Eastern traditional dish "Mahshy"or"Dolma". Stuffed Zucchini, eggplant,tomato,peppers and vine leaves
Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes

Traditional Dolma Recipe

This traditional recipe takes time to cook, but the results are well worth it. Make a large platter and enjoy it with friends and family.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle East
Keyword: Dolma
Appliance: pan
Author: Paromita Datta


  • 2 onions minced
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp currants
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup mint
  • 1 tbsp dill chopped
  • 1 pound beef or lamb or a combination minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jar grape leaves drained
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp ghee or butter
  • 1/4 cup water plus for filling

For the yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2-4 garlic minced
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the olive oil sauce

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar optional


  • To make the stuffing, add all the ingredients (except the leaves) in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add a quarter cup water as well. Keep this aside.
    Ingredients for cooking dolma (minced meat, fresh grape leaves, butter, rice, mint, onion, dill, spices)
  • Take the leaves out of the can and immerse in hot water. Let them stay in for 10 minutes. Place the leaves in a colander and wash them in cold water to remove the salt.  
  • If the leaves seem too thick and unyielding, you can blanch them further for 10 minutes in hot water. 
  • Lay a leaf, with the shiny side down, atop a board. Cut out the stem. Place about a tablespoon of the stuffing at the base. Fold the overhanging bottom part over it. Fold in the sides of the leaves. Holding the base, start rolling till you have a neat cylindrical parcel of a stuffed leaf. 
    Dolma stuffing in a clay pot besides grape leaves
  • Line a deep base pan with thicker or damaged leaves. This is to prevent the dolmas from sticking to the pan. 
  • Now start laying the rolled leaves seam-side down. Arrange the rolled parcels in layers. Dot it with butter or the ghee. 
  • Cover them with water, so that it reaches just the top of the stack of rolled leaves. If the rolled leaves reach only up to the middle of the pan, put a plate over the leaves and then pour in the water so that it reaches above the plate. 
  • Cover the pan and let it cook for at least an hour and a half. After they are cooked, take out the dolmas and arrange them on a platter. 
  • To serve, drizzle the dolmas with the sauce of your choice. You can serve the sauce alongside. For an easy and quick sauce, follow any one of our recipes.

Yogurt sauce

  • Mix the minced garlic and olive oil with the yogurt and give it a stir. Taste the sauce and add the salt if needed. 

Olive oil sauce

  • In an airtight jar, add the salt and lemon juice. Close the lid and give the jar a quick shake. The sauce is ready. If you are storing the sauce, give the jar a brisk shake before serving. 
    A plate of dolmas ready to be served


  • You can make a vegetarian version by removing the meat and increasing the quantity of rice to a cup-and-half. 
  • Some people like to cook their dolma in a tomato sauce. For this, pour a can of tomato sauce to the dolma stack in the pan. Let the dolmas cook in this sauce.