How to Make Dolma During Quarantine

Happy quarantine, habibis. I hope you, your family, and friends are staying safe, healthy, and most importantly sane during these strange times. The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused lots of pain, stress, and uncertainty about our future.

However, from living through wars, economic sanctions and displacement, I learned from a very young age that the best way to move forward in life is to remain positive and hopeful. It might sound cheesy, but it works.

So, instead of focusing on something we have no control over, I thought that maybe we could all participate in a project right from the comfort of our homes: how to make dolma during quarantine?

Due to a high demand from habibis across the world, here’s my easy dolma recipe in the hopes that it will cheer you up and make your stomachs a little happier during these times.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of ground beef/lamb (the fattier the better.) I went with 85%.
  • 1 jar of grape leaves (you could get them at Whole Foods, or any Middle Eastern market.)
  • 1 container of chicken broth.
  • 1 cup of rice.
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • 2 medium-size onions. Chop one of them, slice the other.
  • 6 chopped cloves of garlic.
  • 1 tbsp allspice.
  • 1 tbsp curry powder.
  • 1 tbsp salt.
  • 1 tbsp black pepper.
  • 1 tsp cumin.
  • 1 tsp paprika.

Directions:

Step 1

  • Sautee the meat until brown.
  • Soak the rice in cold water for 20 minutes.

Step 2

  • In a large bowl, mix the meat, rice, parsley, chopped onion, garlic, and all the spices. Make sure everything is evenly mixed.
  • Take one grape leaf, spread it on a flat surface, and add some of the stuffing. don’t add a lot because it will break if you try to roll it.
  • Roll: it’s hard to describe how to roll a grape leaf, so please watch this easy tutorial. This is a great activity to do if you’re quarantining with someone.

Step 3

  • Add some olive oil in a large pot and sautee the sliced onions.
  • Gently place the rolled grape leaves at the bottom. Make sure they’re nice and organized.
  • Pour the chicken broth over everything. You need just enough to cover the grape leaves. Finally, add the lemon juice.
  • Add a small plate (upside down) over the grape leaves. This will very important because the plate will hold the grape leaves down as they cook.
  • Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Once it gets there, reduce to low heat and let it simmer for about half an hour.
  • Taste one of the leaves. If the rice needs to be cooked more, cook them for a few more minutes.

Step 4

Eat and never stop eating.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you don’t already, please follow We the Habibis on Instagram!

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