Dolmar is a traditional and very popular Kurdish dish cooked by Rubar. She described how it is cooked especially at Kurdish new year, 'Newroz'. It is usually cooked with meat, but on this occasion it was made without. Rubar says that she uses a special 'magic ingredient' that is sent to her from Kurdistan, Iraq, which consists of 7 different spices, mixed especially for Dolmar. Women usually gather together to cook this dish. At the end, when they stuff the vegetables, they sit together on the floor.
Ingredients (for about 6 people)
Vegetables for stuffing:
2 aubergines, (long thin ones best, but not essential)
4 large onions
3 large tomatoes.
a bunch of chard for stuffing
Tin Borlotti beans (optional)
For the filling:
2 cups Rice
bunch spring onions, chopped small.
1 or 2 chopped chillies
4-5 cloves of chopped garlic
bunch of chopped dill
tube of tomato paste
'7 spices' (available from most supermarkets)
salt and pepper
How to make:
One hour before stuffing the vegetables, soak the rice in boiling water, then drain.
Cut the vegetables in half width-ways and hollow out the middles, putting the innards into a separate bowl to reserve for the filling.
For the onions, cut off the 2 ends, and then slice lengthways down one side. Carefully scoop out the inside, layer by layer, but leave about 2 layers of the onion. If it is too think it will go floppy and collapse when cooked.
Fry the hollowed-out vegetables (not the tomatoes) until slightly soft. Remove from the pan.
Chop all the vegetable innards small and mix them in a bowl, and then fry them.
Mix the chopped dill and spring onions with the rice, and then finally mix together. with the chopped fried vegetables. Add lemon salt (or juice of one lemon), tomato paste, salt and 2 tsp of '7 spices' and turmeric.
Chop the stalks out of the chard leaves, taking care to reserve the two sides of the leaf for stuffing with the filling.. Chop the stalks into lengths of about 3-4 inches.
Line the bottom of a casserole dish with the stalks of the chard.
Put a layer of beans on top of the stalks.
Now for the stuffing the vegetables!
Put about a spoonful of filling onto each of the chard leaves and roll them up. Place them close to each other on top of the stalks and beans in the casserole.
Fill the rest of the vegetables with the filling, and place closely in layers over the stuffed chard leaves. Space should not be left between each of the stuffed vegetables.
Pour 2 cups of water over the vegetables, and cover.
Boil for 10 minutes on a high temperature, and then turn down low and cook for about an hour.