Summer Tolma is one of four types of tolma featured in The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook, and as it is often included as part of the Easter menu (albeit as a side), I wanted to share the recipe that has been passed down three generations in my family. While this type is usually served cold with lemon wedges, feel free to enjoy them warm as a main as well!
*If you already have the cookbook, please use the updated ingredient list found below:
- 75 preserved grape leaves (recipe for homemade here), plus 12 for lining the pot (top and bottom), rinsed
- 4 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup short-grain white rice
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 3/4 to 1 cup Tazah Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or any good quality olive oil)
- 1/4 bunch fresh dill, chopped, or 1 tsp dried dill
- Juice of one lemon
- Coarse sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups warm water
- Cook onions in a large pot on low-medium heat until they are translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add salt and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add rice and stir well, cooking together for a few minutes.
- Pour in oil, stir well, and add black pepper. Turn off heat and stir in juice of one lemon, dill, and dried mint. Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool.
- From the grape leaves, select 12 smaller or damaged
ones and set aside. Use half of these to line the bottom of an oven-safe pot or dish.
- Organize your workstation: bring the cooled off pot of rice, grape leaves, and baking pot or dish.
- Place a grape leaf in your palm or on a flat plate, veiny
side facing up, and gently remove the stem piece that
sticks out. Depending on the size of the leaves, place 1⁄2 to 1 tbsp of the rice mixture on the side closest to where the stem was and roll them tightly. Pack them tightly in the pot, working in circles, layer by layer, only beginning a new layer once there is no room left.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Pour the leftover oil from the rice mixture over the rolled grape leaves. Spread the remaining smaller or damaged grape leaves over the rolled ones and place a large heavy plate on top.
- Pour in the warm water and cover the pot. Cook for one and a half hours, and using oven mitts, remove the plate but leave the grape leaves in and secure the lid on again. Allow the stuffed grape leaves to cool completely, then remove the top layer of leaves.
- When ready to serve, remove the rolled grape leaves
gently from the pot, arrange them on a tray, pour over
the liquid remaining from the pot, and serve with lemon
Follow it with some delicious Easter Bread, on page 230 of The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook!