There it is! After the stuffed vine leaves with crab and saffron sauce and the stuffed vine leaves with bulgur and cumin, one unusual recipe for stuffed vine leaves with eggplant. It is a traditional recipe from the Dodecanese, Kalymnos in particular.
This recipe is adapted from the book “The Taste of Greece”, by Diana Kohyllas. As stated in the book, Kalymnos and possibly in other islands of the Dodecanese, vine leaves are dried by passing them into a thread like hoop and leaving them hung for a few weeks to dry out completely. They are very fragile after, but when soaked they regain their juices and are again fragrant and delicious. This is how this recipe is made, traditionally; we, however, will make with fresh leaves. See here a trick for blanching fresh vine leaves. The recipe can, of course, be done with vine leaves in brine.
These stuffed vine leaves are juicier and more fragile than the traditional dolmadakia gialantzi. If you are wondering about how beneficial vine leaves are for our health, read here, or see on this photo for instructions on how to roll them.
- • 300 g. fresh vine leaves
- • ½ cup olive oil
- • 4 large onions, chopped
- • 800 g. eggplant, cut into cubes of 1 cm.
- • ½ cup rice
- • 1 ½ cup chopped fresh tomatoes (you can also use canned chopped tomatoes 400g.)
- • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- • 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
- • juice of 1 ½ lemon
- • ½ lemon cut into thin slices
- • salt, pepper
- Rinse vine leaves and drain. Blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes and drain carefully. Separate torn or very small leaves and put them aside.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes.
- Add the eggplant cubes and cook for about 7 minutes, adding a little more oil if needed.
- Add rice and chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add salt and pepper as desired, stir and lower the heat to low. Simmer about 5 minutes until liquids are absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the parsley.
- Wrap the stuffed vine leaves (see photo if you need instructions) putting a teaspoon of filling on each leave.
- Layer the bottom of a pot with the small or torn leaves you have kept aside and place the stuffed vine leaves in the pot, in layers.
- Pour the lemon juice, the remaining olive oil and add as much water as needed to barely cover dolmadakia. Finally, add tomato and lemon slices.
- Place over an overturned plate to hold on to their position while boiling and cover the pot.
- Simmer until liquids are absorbed, for about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and serve. They are served beautifully with Greek strained yogurt.