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Monday, June 18, 2007


My friends Samir and Layla Johna are on a roll with the celebrated Turkish dish Dolma. I hope you have read their previous post on dolma here. They have again made the dish and left us poor folks staring psychotically at the photographs. Angered and agitated at this lack of consideration, I decide to write about his pictures and his dish and share it with you.

According to a Wikipedia article on the dish, the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma, which is more precisely called yaprak dolma or sarma. Common vegetables to stuff include tomatoes and peppers.

The stuffing may include meat or not. Meat dolma are generally served warm, often with sauce; meatless ones are generally served cold. Both can be eaten along with yoghurt. The filling may be minced meat, rice or grain. In either case, the filling includes lemon juice, onion, parsley, herbs and spices. Meatless fillings are cooked with olive oil and include dried grapes, nuts or pulses.

Dolma cooked with olive oil without minced meat is sometimes called yalanc─▒ which literally means "liar", "false" or "fake" in Turkish. The reason for which it is described "false" is that it does not contain meat.
I realise now that this dish is very similar conceptually to the Bengali dish Potoler Dorma. This is essentially a fried pointed gourd that is stuffed with a fish like rohu or prawn. The whole dish is cooked in pungent mustard gravy. I personally chicken out of all fishy dishes, as I have said before, but love the vegetarian option, where the dorma is stuffed with coconut, nuts and raisins, and each piece of pointed gourd sits in absolute unity with its neighbor, bonded by the mustard. For a recipe of potoler dorma, click here.

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