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Dolmades Yalantzi ©

December 3, 2012

Previously you will have seen a similar posting to this, but that was “Dolmades Avgolemono,” with meat and egg and lemon sauce.

These dolmades are without meat and are excellent!

They are made with blanched or fresh vine leaves, filled with an aromatic rice mixture, containing sautéed spring onions, fennel and mint, pine nuts currants and raisins.

They can be eaten as part of a Meze, or as part of a Buffet. They are eaten cold, drizzled with a little olive oil and lemon juice and fill your taste buds with a wonderful combination of sweet and sour.

They were popular throughout the Ottoman Empire, these classic stuffed vine leaves are a familiar sight in Greece, parts of the Middle East and the Balkans. Yalanci, meaning ‘false’, because they contain no meat and are elegant fingers, whereas the meat filled ones are larger in size.

Dolmades Yialazi

Easy, but a little time consuming……well worth the trouble though!




This quantity makes about 21 small mouth sized pieces.

You should calculate at least 4 pieces per person as they are small and delicious and excellent the next day!


Preparation time 1 hour

Cooking time 1/2-3/4 hour




1 jar of vine leaves in brine, or fresh leaves collected at the  beginning of season. ( Use large leaves to line saucepan and cut away a little of the central stalk, when wrapping, if it looks tough!)

150 g of glacé/patna / pearly short grain rice

6-8 spring onions finely chopped

1 medium onion

2-3 tbs fresh mint leaves

6  tbs  or more of fennel leaves

50 g  currants

50 g raisins

50 g pine nuts

4-6 tbs olive oil

salt 2-3 tsp, pepper

300 ml stock/ or water

25 g butter  (opt)

3 lemon juice

2 lemons one cut into quarters and the other sliced for decoration.

Accompany with a bowl of thick Greek Yogurt!


1. Take vine leaves carefully out of jar, with the help of a long spoon and place in colander. Rinse under the running tap and blanch for two minutes in simmering water. Remove and rinse again under cold water. Drain well in colander.

2. Finely chop onion and spring onions, including some of the green leaves.

3. Finely chop the fennel stalks and add these to the onions. Finely chop the fennel leaves and keep separate. Finely chop the mint leaves and reserve.

4. Measure out the pine nuts, currants and raisins and chop briefly.

5. Add 4 tbs of oil to your saucepan and sauté, onion, spring onions and fennel stalks for five minutes (do not brown.) Then add the rice, toss in the oil and add the herbs, pine nuts and currants and raisins, 2 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the juice of two lemons and  1/2  cup of water and cook over a medium heat, until the water has been absorbed, do not let it brown on the bottom, this can happen due to the sugar in the currants. Taste  and adjust seasoning.

6. Choose a medium sized saucepan and line with some of the rougher or damaged  vine leaves.

7. Unraveling your leaves carefully, spread out one leaf on a chopping board stalk side upwards and place in the centre a small teaspoonful of rice mixture. Proceed to fold as shown in the pictures and end up with a light squeeze to seal your ‘Dolma.’ Place in saucepan, one next to the other and proceed to an upper layer if necessary. Ideally you end up with two layers closely packed.

8. Cover with another layer of vine leaves, pour over your stock or water, enough to just cover, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add one lemon juice. Drizzle with a little olive oil and add a little butter for flavour, optional. Cover with a round of grease-proof paper.

9. Finally cover with a plate upside down for weight and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour. Remove one dolma to test and if tender and rice is fully cooked, leave off the heat to cool completely. Leaves should be tender, not chewy and rice cooked. If in doubt, leave a little longer.

10. Once warm or cold, remove plate and vine leaves and arrange carefully  your dolmades in a serving dish. Do not hurry this, as you don’t want to unravel the dolmades. Having washed ones hands, using ones fingers to do this is best. Important, if you do this while they are still hot the leaves blacken and dry out. Drizzle with a little beaten olive oil, together with lemon juice and a little salt. Decorate with lemon quarters and lemon slices.

Dolmades Yalazi

Vine leaves. ( Out side Greece, available in Greek Food Shops, or Specialised Food Shops.)


Blanch for three minutes in simmering water. Refresh under cold water and drain well in colander.


Line base of saucepan to prevent burning. Use damaged or coarser larger leaves.

Dolmades Yalazi

Finely chop spring onions and fennel stalks.  Separately, finely chop the leaves.

Dolmades Yalazi

Pluck mint leaves off stalks and chop finely.

Dolmades Yalanzi

Measure out raisins, currants and pine nuts.

Sauté onion, spring onions and fennel stalks in  4 tbs of olive oil for 5 minutes, add rice and toss in oil. Add chopped herbs, raisins, currants and pine nuts. Add 1 cup of water and 1 lemon juice, seasoning. Cook gently until the water is absorbed and looks like the picture below. Taste for seasoning.

Dolmades Yalazi

Your filling is now ready to use. ( Rice will not be fully cooked)

Dolmades Yalazi

Lay vine leaf out on large plate or chopping board, stalk side upwards.

Dolmades Yalazi

Place in center one teaspoon of stuffing, not more as you want the end result to be mouth sized and  they will swell a little in the cooking.

Dolmades Yalazi

Now begin to fold, folding the lower part of the leaf over the filling.

Dolmades Yalazi

……like so.

Dolmades Yalazi

Then fold over the left side.

Dolmades Yalazi

…and then fold over the right side.

Dolmades Yalanzi

Finally roll up into compact small parcel.

Dolmades Yalazi

Give the dolma a gentle squeeze in the palm of your hand to seal it.

Dolmades Yalazi

Pack closely together in saucepan, having lined the base with leaves. Form a second layer if necessary. Season, drizzle with a little olive oil

and the juice of one lemon. Pour over stock which should come to just cover the dolmades. If you are making the

dolmades for vegetarians or during a fasting period, add water instead of stock. (Omit butter too if making during lent.)

Domades Yalazi

Cover with a layer of vine leaves, followed by a round of grease-proof paper. Then place on top a plate, which

weighs down the dolmades and helps them keep their shape.

Once cooking time is up,  1/2 to 3/4 hr, remove one dolma to try. Rice must be completely cooked, leaves tender, not chewy

and they should melt in the mouth. Leave a little longer if you are in any doubt.

Do not uncover until just warm or cold. Arrange on serving dish and drizzle with a mixture of olive oil and

lemon juice salt and pepper. Cover with cling film until ready to serve. Decorate with lemon.


Using a Channel knife, cut three or four grooves down your washed lemon.


Cut  thin slices for decoration.

Use another lemon and cut into quarters to serve along side for those that would like extra lemon.

Dolmadse Yalazi

Final result.

Dolmades Yalazi

Delicious…..and excellent served with a bowl of Greek  thick Yogurt.

Dolmades Yalanzi

Lovely in the summer and in the winter time!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. ΒΑΣΙΛΙΚΗ permalink
    December 4, 2012 3:05 pm


    Liked by 1 person

    • December 4, 2012 3:43 pm

      Oh that is something nice to have learned and they are even more delicious made from home grown Vine Leaves!
      I have just updated the Chocolate Mousse recipe, the final result looks mouth watering!
      Thank you always for your comments.


  2. Anna Costes permalink
    December 8, 2012 11:43 pm

    Jane, these look delicious (as always). Remember if you are looking for a willing assemby line member, I am here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2012 11:59 pm

      You make the perfect cooking partner, as was demonstrated with the Tiropitakia. Thank you very much, I’ll take you up on that offer……….


  3. February 20, 2015 11:35 pm

    Reblogged this on What's Cooking In Jane's Kitchen and commented:

    These are just delicious!!!!!!


  4. ada xinou permalink
    March 5, 2015 12:59 pm



  5. Nectar permalink
    October 9, 2015 2:45 pm

    Love your blog The way you explain in detail how to make a recipe and with it the pictures to accompany Thanks to my cousin Steve Stylainoudis who made me discover your blog Have a great day Some of your recipes remind me of my mothers recipes who was Greek And was Steve,s first cousin


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