Albanian Stuffed Ivy-Grape Leaves

We made this dish with ıvy leaves. This is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions, including Albania.


Albanian Stuffed Ivy-Grape Leaves


45 minutes to make

Serves 6

  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1-2 large onions, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 to 2 lemons
  • liberal pinch of salt
  •  1 pound of ground meat (turkey, beef or lamb)
  • 1 /2 cup long grain rice
  •   3 Tbs of olive oil
  • A jar of grape leaves ( or mulberry, bean, cherry,ıvy white cabbage, linden leaves )
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tomato very thinly cutted
  • 5tbspoon finely chopped parsley
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • pinch of ground black pepper


Cut the stems of the grape leaves. Place them in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 10-15 minutes and rinse with cold water.

Soak the rice in salted hot water for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile saute the chopped onions,, herbs and seasoning in the oil.

Remove from heat, add the drained rice, tomato paste, meat and tomato mixing everything together very well.

Place grape leaves on a work surface, shiny side down, place about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture near the stem end, then fold in the end and sides and roll up neatly.

Repeat this process until all the leaves are stuffed.

Line the bottom of a large, heavy-based pot with several grape leaves. Pour in the stock or the water, add dabs of butter on the top.

Place a heatproof dish on the top to keep the rolls pressed down.

Cover with a lid and simmer slowly for 1 to 2 hours, or until the leaves are tender.

Serve the “dolma” lukewarm, sprinkled with garlic yogurt and oil and red pepper sauce.

Alternatively, you may prefer to serve with garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice dressing.

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