Notice: Function add_theme_support( 'html5' ) was called incorrectly. You need to pass an array of types. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 3.6.1.) in /var/www/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5835
Simmer time: 1½ hours
Serves: 4-5
Recipe type: Dolmeh
Cuisine: Persian/Azeri
  • 5 ounces fresh leaves (May substitute with the grape leaves in brine from a jar)
  • ⅓ cup Jasmine rice
  • ¼ cup medium bulgur
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup yellow split peas
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • Water to cook the split peas
  • 1 ½ cups sliced scallions (both white and green parts)
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh summer savory (may increase the amount of the other herbs by ¼ cup to substitute for summer savory)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin and fried to golden brown (about 3 ounces fried onions)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil for frying the onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP crushed dried rose petals
  • 3 TBSP firm whole fat yogurt
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 medium yellow onion sliced thin and fried golden brown
  • 3 TBSP oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • ⅛ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ cup zereshk (dried barberries)
  • Few grape tomatoes cut in half (optional, for color)
  • 12 ounces low fat plain yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped very small
  1. Remove the stems from fresh or pickled leaves. If using fresh leaves, fill a large bowl half way with hot boiling water. Add the fresh leaves to a colander and submerge in the hot water. Immediately the color will change from green to yellowish green. Take the colander out of the bowl and let drain. Set aside. If using the leaves from a jar place the amount you need in a colander and rinse under cold water and drain.
  2. Rinse the split peas, add to a small saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover the peas. Add butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook until tender but very firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the Jasmine rice and bulgur under cold water. Add to the saucepan with the par-cooked split peas and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Most of the water will be absorbed into the ingredients. Stir a few times. Do not overcook.
  4. Peel and slice the medium onion and fry to golden brown. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl add the prepared herbs, crushed garlic, salt, spices, rose petals, the split pea/rice/bulgur mixture. Toss to combine.
  6. Add the melted butter and fried onions to the ingredients and toss to coat.
  7. To wrap grape leaf: Place one of the grape leaves on a plate. The leaves are going to be different sizes and it takes anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 TBSP of stuffing to stuff them. Bring the edges of the leaf from four sides and overlap to cover the stuffing snugly to create a small square bundle no larger than 1 ½ inches. Cover the bottom of a small 3-qt saucepan with couple of leaves to prevent the stuffed dolmeh from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  8. Place the square bundle of dolmeh with the overlapping side down. Continue making the rest of the dolmeh and place them next to each other very tightly until the bottom of the pot is completely covered without any space between the bundles of dolmeh. This is to make sure that the bundles do not shift and open during the cooking process. Sprinkle the top lightly with kosher salt, about ⅛ tsp. Repeat the same process with the second layer and sprinkle with salt. Once the two bottom layers are done adjust the salt in the remaining stuffing mixture to taste and continue with wrapping and layering the dolmeh in the pot. If using grape leaves from a jar skip adding salt to the layers but follow the rest of the directions.
  9. When all of the dolmeh(s) are wrapped and layered, place a heat proof plate over the top layer, this is to prevent the dolmeh from shifting and becoming unwrapped.
  10. Pour 1 cup of water over the top and cover. Bring it to a boil over medium heat and immediately reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 30 minutes.
  11. Now reduce the heat to the mark between medium low and low and cook covered for another hour.
  12. Make the garlic yogurt couple of hours before serving: Mix yogurt with finely chopped garlic thoroughly and refrigerate.
  13. Make the garnish: Peel and slice the medium onion very thin. Heat 3 TBSP oil and 1 TBSP butter in a medium nonstick skillet. Fry the onions to golden brown over medium heat. Add ⅛ tsp turmeric and continue frying for 2 more minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the barberries and stir. Set aside and warm again over low heat briefly right before topping the Dolmeh.
  14. Drizzle the cooked Dolmeh with garlic yogurt and top with the garnish. Add the rest of the garlic yogurt to a bowl and serve it on the side. Add a few optional grape tomatoes to the serving platter for a colorful presentation. Serve Sangak or lavash (Persian flat breads) or toasted wedges of pita bread on the side.
Grape leaves are pickled in brine and may be substituted for fresh leaves. The jarred grape leaves are sold in the Middle Eastern or Persian markets. Use the amount that you need and refrigerate the rest. Rinse once under cold water to get rid of some of the salt. Skip sprinkling salt on the first two layers of wrapped Dolmeh.
Zereshk is red sour berry of an edible barberry bush and is sold in Middle Eastern markets.
Recipe by Persian Mama at