Being far away from family and “home”, I wanted to make something that could comfort me into knowing that I can have a piece of home whenever I want (although nothing will ever come close the the real thing!). I came up with the idea of making dolmeh all on my own. I have only made a version of this once before, and that was under my mom’s directions, a very long time ago. This time I had to figure it out all on my own, and with very limited spices and herbs. Regardless, it was quite easy to make. I have to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing, but it just goes to show that cooking is an art and everyone has their own style, my style being quick and easy, without the frills. Check out my quick and easy recipe below:
1 lb ground chicken, beef or lamb
3 medium sized tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
5 bell peppers and/or eggplant for shells
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
2 cups cooked rice
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup dry or fresh mint
1 Tbsp tumeric
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
1. Start by frying the onion in oil for a few minutes until translucent, then add meat.
2. When the meat is slightly browned, add the tomato paste, tomatoes, water, tumeric, paprika, salt, pepper and mint and simmer for 15 minutes. It should have the consistency of pasta sauce, so add water as necessary.
3. After simmering, pour most of the meat sauce in a big bowl with the chickpeas and rice and mix together, but leave some sauce in the pan. Set aside.
4. Cut out the stems of the bell peppers and eggplants, but save them to cap the peppers once they are stuffed. Scoop out the seeds of the bell peppers and the inside flesh of the eggplant to form a shell.
5. Next, stuff the bell peppers and eggplants with the mixture, and place back into the pot with the remaining sauce. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, making sure to add water to the pot as necessary so it does not burn.
6. Serve, and enjoy
Note: If you don’t like chickpeas, you can mix other vegetables instead like chopped okra, cabbage, green peas, etc. Check out the pictures, it’s pretty self-explanatory.
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