Cabbage Dolma (Dolma’t Chalama)

Cabbage Dolma (Dolma’t Chalama)

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Cabbage Dolma or Cabbage Rolls is one of those recipes that shared by many cultures. This including Assyrians, Arabs, Armenians, Polish, and Greeks. Assyrians call this dish “dolma’t chalama” which means “cabbage dolma.” Unlike many of my recipes, Cabbage Rolls is a more universal dish. Although I could try to claim that we Assyrians were the first to make dolma, I’m not going there. The important thing is that cabbage rolls are appreciated throughout the world.

 

cabbage dolma filling in a gray bowl

 

Vegetarians or Meat-Lovers Cabbage Dolma

Cabbage rolls happen to be my daughter, Nena’s favorite Assyrian dish. Unfortunately, we have a serious problem. Nena prefers her dolma without meat, while I like mine with. However, being the nice mom that I am, I usually disregard my preference and make it how Nena likes it. If you’re like me and prefer dolma with meat, just replace one cup of rice with one pound of finely diced beef or lamb. But please don’t use ground meat; mom would not have approved. Instead, take a little time to dice the meat; it does make a difference.

Here’s a video of me and mom making cabbage dolma; Check out how sassy she was!

 

Saint Patrick’s Day Tradition

This year, I am continuing a tradition that I started five years ago. What tradition you ask? Well, five years ago I came up with the idea of cooking cabbage dolma along with the corned beef for St. Patricks’s Day. You see the guys in the family love corned beef, as do I. Unfortunately, no one really wanted to eat the cabbage. And since Nena doesn’t eat much meat, there was nothing for Nena to eat for our St Patrick’s Day meal. However, making cabbage rolls AND corned beef solved that dilemma. The guys got to have the corned beef, Nena got her cabbage rolls, and I got both. I call that a win-win!

 

cabbage dolma and corned beef

 

cabbage leaf-lined pot

unrolled cabbage leaf with filling inside

cabbage dolma roll

 

 

You may also enjoy the following posts: Greek Dolmathes, Instant Pot Corned Beef, and Corned Beef Spice Pack.

 

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cabbage dolma


5 from 3 votes
Cabbage Dolma
DOLMA / CABBAGE ROLLS (DOLMA’T CHALAMA)
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

Assyrian cabbage rolls (dolma) stuffed with rice and herbs. Vegetarian recipe.

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Assyrian, Middle Eastern
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 412 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 head cabbage large
  • 3 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T allspice
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 tsp citric acid
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 T dill
Sauce:
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 21/2 cups water
  • 11/2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp citric acid
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 T vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Carve the core out of the cabbage using a sharp knife, or a serrated grapefruit knife. Discard the core.
  2. Add cabbage to a large stockpot, and cover with water. Boil until the leaves begin to soften and start pulling away from the cabbage.
  3. As the leaves change color and become soft and pliable, use tongs to carefully pull away the outer leaves, and place on a platter. Avoid overcooking the leaves which will cause them to fall apart. Continue to strip the leaves away until you’re left with the smaller leaves in the center.
  4. Remove the thick veins from the center of the larger leaves.
  5. Use the thick sections of the leaves to line the bottom of an 8 qt. Dutch oven. This step is necessary so that the dolma does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Cut the rest of the cabbage leaf into smaller portions, which will be used to roll the mix in.
  7. Filling: Wash rice, then soak in water and set aside. Chop the parsley, and cilantro, and add to a large bowl. Mince onion and garlic, and add to the same bowl. Mix in all the filling spices. Strain the rice and add to the bowl, along with the tomato paste and oil. Mix thoroughly until combined.
  8. Assembly: Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each cabbage leaf and roll up to cover the filling.
  9. There's no wrong or right way to do this, it just takes practice. Just don't make them too big.
  10. Place the dolma in the leaf-lined Dutch oven, in straight rows until the bottom is covered.
  11. When you are done with the first layer, sprinkle with a teaspoon of dill.
  12. If you run out of cabbage leaves, you can use onions to use up the remaining filling.
  13. Just peel a medium sized onion, cut the ends, and make a slit half-way through the onion. Boil for approximately 25 minutes. Strip the onion layers and stuff them with the remaining mixture.
  14. Cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes. The dolma will release some of its juices, and will partially steam cook. During this time, you can move on to making the sauce.
  15. Sauce: Mix the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, until well blended. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside until needed.
  16. Pour the sauce over the dolma. Once the mixture is boiling, turn heat to the lowest setting, and simmer until the juices are absorbed, and the rice is tender. This can take anywhere from 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  17. Although you're going to want to dig in, have patience little grasshopper! You must allow the dolma to cool for a little bit, or it will fall apart when you're dishing it out.
Nutrition Facts
DOLMA / CABBAGE ROLLS (DOLMA’T CHALAMA)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 412 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 34%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1678mg 70%
Total Carbohydrates 51g 17%
Dietary Fiber 10g 40%
Sugars 17g
Protein 9g 18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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