This Ancient Greek recipe is a lighter, meat-free alternative to Middle Eastern sarmas.
According to Chloe Attiti, author of a small book on Ancient Greek cooking, this dish was mentioned in one of the writings of Alexis, a dramatist who was born in Southern Italy around 400 BC and spent most of his life in Athens. Of course the recipe that arrived in our days might differ from the original one, but it’s a great, lighter alternative to the typical rice or meat stuffed sarmas that are so popular in Middle Eastern cooking.
In a large bowl, put together the lentils,
leek, onion, bulgur. Add the herbs,
salt, pepper ½ cup of the olive oil and stir.
Take one grape leaf and place it smooth side down,
veiny sides up. Place about 1 spoon
(depending on how big the leaf is)
of the mix at the bottom of the leaf.
Fold the sides and then roll the
leaf from bottom to top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Place a steaming rack in a large pot and arrange
the dolmas on the steamer. If you don’t have a rack,
then cover the bottom of the pot with
two layers of vine leaves. Cover with water,
add the lemon juice and fix plate in the pot,
on top of the dolmas. Boil for about 30 minutes.
Serve warm or cold, alone or with some Greek yoghurt.
Note: Since vine leaves in brine are particularly strong flavored,
it’s better to rinse them several times and soak them in water for at least one hour before use.