Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What is Etchmiadzin Dolma?

In answer to a recent inquiry about how Etchmiadzin dolma differs from regular dolma, Ara Kassabian offered a video link (in Armenian) showing how to make Etchmiadzin dolma, and the recipe, which he kindly translated into English. Ara notes that the main distinguishing characteristic of Etchmiadzin dolma, apparently, is the additional use of apples and quince.
Apples and Quince (Image from

Click here to view the video. The video is in Armenian; even if you don't understand the language, you'll get the general idea.

Here is Ara's translation of the recipe. His comments are in bold print inside [square brackets].
Etchmiadzin Dolma

Stuffing ingredients:
1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs.) of beef, ground
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup rice [I suggest short-grained or ordinary long-grained--not Basmati]
Tomato paste
Salt, red pepper, black pepper
Mixed fresh herbs [Recipe does not say, but I would suggest parsley, plus mint or dill]
1 head cabbage, outer leaves removed, inner leaves separated and blanched
1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs.) of tomatoes
1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs.) eggplant
500 g (approx. 1 lb.) green pepper
1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs.) of apples
50 g (approx. 3 ½ Tbsp.) melted butter
Additional tomato paste


1. Make the stuffing by mixing all the ingredients.
2. Core the vegetables [I usually add the core material back into the stuffing, but that is optional]. 
3. Fill the cored vegetables and the cabbage leaves with the stuffing [Note: Dolma in Eastern Armenia is made much larger than in Western Armenia].
4. Place a platter on the bottom of a pot and arrange the stuffed vegetables tightly on top of it. Cover with water and an inverted plate to keep everything in place [Note: The purpose of the plate at the bottom of the pot is to prevent the dolma from burning. I suggest using the leftover cabbage leaves, parsley stems, etc., instead]. Cover and cook for 40 minutes (high heat until the water boils, then lower to a simmer). 10 minutes before removing from the fire, add the melted butter and tomato paste.

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