REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Stuffed Vegetables

TURKISH VEGETARIAN COOKING

STUFFED VEGETABLES (Dolmalar)

The word 'dolma' means stuffed. When you visit Turkey you may find yourself using a 'dolmus', a taxi or minibus shared with a number of people depending on how serious you are in saving money, because this is a very economical way of reaching your destination. Please be careful and not say 'dolma' instead of 'dolmuş' - your inexperience as a tourist in Turkey might cost you a little more than you expected!

Another small point about cooking or making a dolma dish: when you roll cabbage leaves or grape leaves with the same rice filling sometimes it is called 'sarma'; there is logic to the word because 'sarma' means to wrap. But usually wrapped dishes come under dolmas.


The most often prepared stuffed vegetable dish we have in Turkey is the stuffed peppers. It used to be part of the picnic meals that usually also required some kind of borek (fried or baked pastry type dish), hard-boiled eggs and fried meat balls. Nobody takes such an enormous picnic meal with them when they go on picnics these days. But stuffed bell peppers are a must at most evening meals all during the summer. (We used to eat vegetables only during its season, but not anymore.) You may keep them in your refrigerator well covered, for a few days, but please always take this type of prepared food out of the cold environment and let it warm up slowly to soothe your taste buds and your stomach. Or you may eat it as soon as it cools down after it is all cooked. This rest period before setting it on the table is also a must.