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 brief explanation and recipe. Ara notes that the main distinguishing characteristic of Etchmiadzin dolma, apparently, is the additional use of apples and quince.
Apples and Quince (Image from

Here is a recipe Ara translated from Armenian into English for our benefit. 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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