Monday, September 22, 2008

Aubergine Dolma with a Piquant Rice Filling and Tzatziki

Aubergine Rolls-Dolma (06) by MeetaK

Last week Tom and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. On one side when I think about it I find it so hard to believe that 10 years with this wonderful man have past. On the other it feels so natural, like there was no other meant to be for me.

I did make a mistake in my “past life” but I think that mistake was meant to happen - to lead me to Tom.

For the past several weeks Tom, Soeren and I have been living in perfect symbiosis with each other. Everything fits together, everything is tuned to perfect harmony and everything works like clockwork. At times it feels like we are living in our own bubble, taking a step outside of it wakes us up to the realization that there indeed is another world out there.

It was not always like this though. Like any “healthy” relationship both of us had our downs and hard times. So much so that at times I really thought about leaving!

Being a Gemini I am constantly restless and need to be on the move. I can be hard-headed and stubborn. Put this up against the characteristic traits of an Aries, to which Tom is born under, you will see we make an explosive couple. Tom can be broody, impatient and far too logical, sometimes driving me up the wall. I know I often hit against Tom’s rational aspect of life with my light and airy ideas, making him impatient.

We’ve had our share of fights and battles. However, we’ve come through and found our peace. We do make an explosive pair but I could not think of anyone else I would rather have my fireworks with. Sure he makes me mad, but no one else can make me laugh as much as he does. I probably drive his patience with my wild ideas, but it is his rational thinking that always puts my world into perspective.

Together we share one treasure: Soeren. The Virgo in him brings the order we often need in our relationship. With his coolness and sensitivity, he is the soothing balsam on our egos, making us complete.

This weekend we wanted to remain in our bubble. It was just so cozy and comfortable. The rain could fall down in sheets and the wind could howl against our windows, we were happy just enjoying each other's company. Over a game of Uno, I looked over to Tom and smiled to myself. Yes - I am looking forward to the next ten.

Aubergine Rolls-Dolma (04) by MeetaK 

Dolma is the name given to stuffed vegetable dishes typical in the Turkish, Middle Eastern, Lebanese and Greek cuisines. However you will most certainly find versions of the dolma in the Balkan countries and even Central and South Asia. One of the most popular dolma variety is probably the grape-leaf dolma.

My dolma is typically found in Greece. I use rice and Kefalotyri cheese, a sensational Greek salty cheese made from goat milk. For the required heat I use a hot Aci Sivri pepper, a Turkish chili. The entire dish is served with a garlicky Tzatziki style sauce, making this an unforgettable experience. 

 

Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

1kg Aubergines, cut lengthwise is approx. 1cm thick slices, then placed in salt water.
6 tablespoons olive oil
Butter for the form
50g cold butter

The Filling
120g onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
100g rice, cooked
200g bell pepper, cut into very small cubes
1 aci sivri pepper, finely chopped. Substitute with any other green chili.
300g large Roma tomatoes, blanched, skin removed, de-seeded, and coarsely chopped
70g Kefalotyri cheese, cut into very small cubes. Substitute with an Italian Pecorino sardo
Olive oil
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and fresh cracked pepper

The Yogurt Sauce
150g thick Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
2-3 garlic cloves, mashed
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
 

Method

In a large skillet heat the 2 tablespoons of oil for the filling and sauté the onions and garlic until aromatic and translucent.

Add the bell pepper and the Aci Sivri pepper and continue to stir-fry for another 5 minutes. Incorporate half of the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon parsley into the mixture.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then add the cheese and rice. Mix well, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Take the aubergine slices out of the salt water and pat dry with paper kitchen towels. Reserve 1 cup of salt water.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and cook both sides of the aubergine slices until slightly golden. Set on paper towels to soak up excess oil.

Butter an ovenproof dish. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Taking the narrow end of the aubergine place approx. 1 tablespoon of the rice filling on the aubergine and gently roll. Place each aubergine roll tightly next to each other in the ovenproof dish.

Distribute the remaining tomatoes over the top of the aubergine rolls. Cut up the cold butter into flakes and divide over the top. Pour 1 cup of reserved salt water into the dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the yogurt sauce, by mixing the mashed garlic into the yogurt. Add the crème fraiche and whisk until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Take the ovenproof dish out of the oven, sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve with yogurt sauce and rustic bread.

 


Verdict

Aubergine Rolls-Dolma (01) by MeetaK

Maybe I am featuring this recipe because it is in a way a lot like the three of us. The aubergine and the rice-cheese mixture are quite the individuals. But the aubergine tightly hugs the rice-cheese filling, creating the perfect harmony. It is the cool refreshing yogurt that caresses the entire dish, adding a totally new flavor level. We love it because it simply tastes fantastic.

You might like these aubergine ideas from WFLH:

Ratatouille o6 Ratatouille Provençal
ChokaAubergines 02 framed Aubergine Choka
 Babaganoush01 Baba Ghanouj

Dolma from around the blogs:

 

Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

49 comments :

  1. Wish you and Tom a belated happy anniversary Meeta. That was a touchy post, loved to read it.
    Dolma looks perfect. I have come to like augurbine-tomato combo a lot. Yummy...

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  2. Congrats to you and tom on your 10th anniversary, dear Meeta. It's our 8th next month..time does fly by, doesn't it? But yes, 'for better, for worse' :-)

    And that's a wonderful recipe :-)

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  3. Dish looks perfect.Belated Anniversary wishes.
    Thanks for sharing the thoughts and the recipe.

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  4. That is one touching write up. Enjoyed reading it and happy belated anniversary to you & Tom. Aubergine Dolma looks delicious.. :)

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  5. What a lovely description, opening your lives to 'the world'. May it ever be thus ...

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  6. Belated Anniversary Wishes to you and Tom, Meeta! Wishing you both many many happy years ahead! The dolma looks delish!

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  7. Wishing you & Tom a very Happy Anniversary

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  8. Happy Anniversary!
    Very refreshing to hear that my hubby and I are not the only explosive ones! Fireworks do make life more interesting and colorful!
    Dolma looks wonderful.......a tasty treat for a happy day!

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  9. That is so cute Meeta. I am sure you both are very lucky to have each other. As you said there are ups and downs, but that is what makes a relationship resilient. Touch wood guys.
    Have many more happy years ahead of you.

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  10. Congratulations to you Meeta and Tom !
    SD

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  11. Meeta: hello!!!! Congrats on 10, that is so awesome. I was just playing a game of cards with my husband and [one of my] sons; it was a good moment. I too was reflecting on how fortunate I felt.

    I just had a similar dish; but too much eggplant skin ruined it:). Not so symbiotic, though the flavors were spot on...

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  12. Wishing you and Tom many more happy returns of this wonderful day! And I simply adore the comparison of your life and the dish!

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  13. We should take the time to count our blessings. We, Geminis, can be too much sometimes - the dizzying pace, new ideas all the times, the temper... Thank God, the husband is a Virgo!
    Happy anniversary, Meeta. To many many more!

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  14. Congrats for your 10years.
    Yeah i guess all marriages has it's up and down. Loved the way you wrote about soreen beeing your shared treasure

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  15. Congratulations Meeta...thats a wonderful post to read!

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  16. Well done Meeta and Happy Anniversary...you got over the "seven year itch"!

    These roll-ups are so easy and eggplant are so versatile and delicious.

    For your Tzatziki, try some chopped mint or dill in it for a kick.

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  17. Hey Meeta,

    Congratulations!!!!!!That was such a lovely post.... Your write up is so fabulous, as in all your readers can actually see and feel the situation....so fab! many many more years together!

    Best wishes,

    Veda

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  18. I know what you mean about about the fireworks. Even after a fight if you can look across at him and feel blessed, you got a great thing going, right? Happy Anniversary!

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  19. May you have many many more happy years together...

    I could see myself in what you wrote about your marriage...We just finished our 6 years of ups and downs...he being the non-retaliating kind and me being the one who bursts at the shortest fuse:)

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  20. Happy Anniversary!! You sound like the perfect couple, and the perfect family unit. And it would be boring without the ups and downs!

    This dish looks so comforting and delicious!

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  21. A very Happy Anniversary to the two of you Meeta. A tight aubergine hug from me too :)

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  22. These look amazing. We stuff every vegetable that we can find in the Kurdish culture! Love your pictures!

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  23. This is really beautiful on so many levels!
    Happy Anniversary!
    Your words here sweep me into this dish! Love using the eggplant for a wrap in this, it's really wonderful.

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  24. Dearest Meeta, happy 10-year anniversary!! Hehe, I am also an Aries and couldn't help but chuckle at your description of Tom! What's wrong with being logical?! :P
    The dolmas look wonderful even though you didn't use grape leaves, which are my favorite kind!!

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  25. This looks great. And I love the English name for the eggplant ;)

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  26. Did my comment not save? I don't see it here...

    I said, "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! I WISH YOU TWO A LIFETIME TOGETHER!!!

    Such a gorgeous eggplant dish!!"

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  27. This recipe sounds so delicious, I am adding it to my eggplant recipe collection. I just love eggplant! Beautiful photos.

    Congratulations on your 10th anniversary!

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  28. Happy Anniversary! Lovely recipe and post.

    Hugs,
    Paz

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  29. Congratulations. It looks delicious and it's such a beautiful post too.

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  30. Meeta, congratulations to you and Tom! And what a wonderful dish to celebrate this event. I'm sure it tasted fantastic.

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  31. I make aubergine rolls too, but filled with 3 cheeses.I think your version is a lot healthier and still delicious. Definitely to try soon....Happy anniversary!

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  32. Congratulations to all three of you Meeta. I am really touched by the way you compared the dish with your family. Its nice to know that someone is so down to earth. I wish you and Tom many more such joyous anniversaries.

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  33. Meeta, through in some pinenuts in the stuffing next time. They really suit the flavours. I am surprised you use kefalotyri, not very common outside my home country!

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  34. Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate the well wishes and hope they go straight from here to those ears up there LOL!

    Glad you all are also linking the dolmas.

    Peter I certainly have tried it with mint before as well and coriander leaves - there are a lot of ways to flavor the tzatziki but this time I wanted to enjoy the flavors of the dolma with the cheese.

    Johanna, pine nuts is a great idea will have to remember it next time. kefalotyri is not easily available here. I got it from my fave Greek restaurant here!

    Thanks for your feedback and great tips.

    Hugs!

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  35. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your wonderful recipes and pictures. I have left you an award on my blog to show you my appreciation.
    All the best,
    Alexa

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  36. Those are gorgeous. BTW, thanks for always giving alternative ingredients. I am not sure I would find a aci sivri pepper.

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  37. A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Happy Anniversary.

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  38. Your dolma looks fabulous! Do you think it will be just as good with zucchini instead of eggplant? Congratulations on your anniversary!

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  39. Loved your post Meeta. A big congratulations to you and Tom. I know what you're saying about the "bubble". I feel like that too...you described it perfectly. The Dolma looks perfect.

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  40. it is the best gift to know in your heart that there's no other place you'd rather be....and no other person you'd rather share it with!! congratulations meeta and tom and cheers for many more years together!!

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  41. It sounds as though you have found your inner peace Meeta. I am lifting my glass of virtual Champagne (preferably an Italian Prossecco) in celebration. I love the eggplant dolmas dish as well...as you know this is right up my alley!!!!!!

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  42. Happy Anniversary sweetie!

    Love your spoon in the picture :)

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  43. Belated anniversary wishes to you and Tom Meeta...

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  44. I love aubergine but am never quite sure what to do with it other than use it in ratatouille! This looks a lovely dish - the finished portions are very elegant.

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  45. Congratulations, my friend, to you and Tom! To me, you sound like the perfect couple! Here's to the next 10 years!

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  46. wow Meeta, it's beautifully written... (wiping tears) wishing you a lifetime together :) also the new header is stunning!

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  47. Those look really tasty. I like that you served them with tzatziki.

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  48. Belated wishes for your anniversary from me as well. In a few days it will be our 28th Wedding Anniversary and we are Aries and Gemini as well but I'm the Aries and my husband the Gemini and we are a perfect match, so I'm wishing you and Tom a very long and happy life together, as ours.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta