Stuffed vegetables

Stuffed vegetables

By
Greg Malouf, Lucy Malouf
Contains
5 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742708423
Photographer
Alan Benson

A rather sophisticated category, demonstrating the technical skill of the Middle Eastern home cook. In fact, Middle Easterners (and people from the Eastern Mediterranean, and as far east as Armenia) seem to have an absolute passion for stuffing all kinds of vegetables with mixtures of rice with herbs, spices, meat or legumes. There’s no denying that these dishes are fairly labour-intensive – especially the daintier ones that involve hollowing out or wrapping and rolling – meaning that making them is usually reserved for celebrations. But it provides a great opportunity for family members and friends to get together and help out! This is usually as much about socialising as it is about the food preparation, and we consider it one of life’s great pleasures.

Food historians argue over the origin of stuffed vegetables – as do the Turks and the Greeks, both claiming them as their own! Arto de Hartourian, in his lovely book Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East writes that the habit of wrapping minced meat or wheat and spices in vine, cabbage and fig leaves, and then cooking them in water flavoured with aromatics can be traced to the ancient Sassanian, Babylonian and Akkadian empires, as far back as the third millenium BC. With time, the practice was extended and developed beyond leaves to include vegetables, perhaps reaching a zenith in the elaborate banquets produced by the palace kitchens of the Ottoman Empire.

The most popular – and perhaps most iconic – stuffed items are vine leaves, known variously as dolmades or sarma. These are served hot, when they are traditionally filled with a mixture of rice and minced lamb, or at room temperature, when rice is flavoured with herbs and combinations of cinnamon, allspice and mint, with pine nuts, chickpeas or currants. The rolled leaves are then braised in an oil-rich braising stock, allowing the flavours to meld with the lemony backdrop of the vine leaf itself.

Other popular vegetables suitable for stuffing are eggplants, capsicums, tomatoes and zucchinis. In the following pages, we’ve provided our own modern interpretations of some of these, including a lovely vegetable version of the Lebanese favourite home-cooked meal, kousa mahshi (stuffed zucchini).

Recipes in this Chapter

    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again