(This is about Armenian dolma/tolma.)
When you visit Armenia, dolma should surely be on your list of dishes to taste. Dolma (or sometimes written “tolma”) is considered to be “the most Armenian dish’’ by many people.
You will know the reason after tasting this inimitable Armenian dish that extends far beyond the border of many different countries.
This article is likely to help you to have some ideas about dolma (tolma). However, you can’t have a full idea about it without tasting it, especially those made with an Armenian recipe.
So, after reading this, please make sure yourself taste the Armenian dolma!
What is Armenian dolma / tolma?
Dolma is made of meat or vegetables rolled up in fresh young grape leaves (‘doli’ means ‘a grape leaf’ in ancient Urartian language). It can also be stuffed in leaves of cabbage or edible greens if they wish.
This dish of Armenian cuisine, dolma, is as ancient as its history. Throughout the centuries, Armenians have always tried to make it more and more delicious. That has actually resulted in many different recipes of making dolma. Some of them are so unique that they can only be found in Armenia.
So, there are different recipes and ways for making it and each has its specific taste and uniqueness that make dolma kind of unique dishes even in Armenian cuisine.
Taste of Armenian dolma
Dolma tastes not only delicious but also unique and various because of the ingredients added with meat and vegetables. They usually include mutton fat, rice, onions, pepper, salt and greens as well as sometimes contain parsley, mint, oregano, coriander, etc depending on your preference.
Dolma, if you bite one piece, will give you the deep taste of meat juice contained inside. Surely, it will be one of the best dished for those who love the taste of meat.
Armenians love this dish because it is a part of Armenian culture but also they simply love dishes made of chopped meat and all possible variations of stuffed dishes.
When does Armenians usually eat dolma?
In general, there are no special occasions where Armenian people eat dolma (tolma).
Dolma with grape leaves is a very ordinary and common dish in Armenian families. It is on table sometimes for normal dinner and sometimes during birthday parties, new year parties as well as wedding parties.
Since they love it so much, Armenians make dolma very often regardless of weather and their love actually urged them to start the annual festival called Pan-Armenian Dolma Festival which is held every year in Armenia. Now, you can see how much they love the dish, right?
During the festival, all cooks participating in the event make dolma by his or her own recipe and people have a chance to taste the differences between them to choose the best dolma of all delicious Armenian dolmas there! (To see more about the festival, also read the following article: Armenian festival -10 festivals to attend to eat delicious food!)
Basically, dolma can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere while you are staying in Armenia.
Recipe of Dolma
The process of making traditional Armenian dolam (tolma) is not difficult at all and interesting for those who have never cooked it yet. Please find the recipe below so that you will be able to cook dolma yourself!
Now, dolma will be served hot with “matsun” (Armenian traditional and natural yogurt, which is similar to sour yogurt, with garlic).
Please try tasting it with the yogurt because it becomes much tastier in this way.
Then, if you are with an Armenian family, the tasty aroma of dolma (tolma) will be spread in the room and the family gathers around the table to eat it after saying “Bari Akhorzhak”, “Good Appetite” to each other.
Summer version of dolma
There is also another recipe for making domla (tolma), which is usually for the summer. In this case, the grape leaves are replaced with vegetables.
The unique features making Armenian dolma special
As we have repeatedly said, dolma is a special dish for Armenians and even many non-Armenian people have loved it. The following features of dolma are probably the reasons that make it very special.
The unforgettable but familier taste of dolma
At first, it can be said the taste of dolma is unforgettable, but at the same time, familiar for many people actually. It is probably because similar dishes are existing around the world, which makes them remember what they ate in childhood.
In addition to its taste, dolma is rich in nutrients including lots of proteins from meat as well as carbohydrates from rice. Also, other ingredients such as grape leaves, other vegetables and salts add vitamins as well as minerals to the Armenian dish.
When Armenians make dolma (tolma), their friends come around and the families come to taste it. And, of course, after finished cooking it, they gather together to enjoy the dish. So, the whole process of making and eating dolma gives you pleasant atmosphere.
Kneading it, putting Armenian soul into it
The ingredients of dolma (tolma), as introduced in the recipe, are generally knead with hands. Kneading them by hands rather than mixing them with a cooking machine, Armenians feel the traditional heritage from their ancestors.
Therefore, when eating it, not only just taste it but also feel their soul inside Armenian dolma.
Ancient Armenian dish
As you may have already noticed, dolma is considered to be one of the oldest traditional Armenian dishes. It is one of the jewels of Armenian cuisine.
So, to know the Armenian nation better and to understand their history, culture and life better, dolma will be a good source for you.
Want to try Armenian dolma? 3 recommended places in Yerevan, Armenia!
In Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, you can eat tasty dolma (tolma) nearly in every corner. Almost all restaurants offering national Armenian dishes have dolma as a menu in fact.
Now, 3 popular places will be recommended for you to visit while in Yerevan.
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