Recipe: Dolma/mahshy

Recipe: Dolma/mahshy

Recipe: Dolma/mahshy

One of my favourite Middle Eastern recipes is dolma, which is very popular in Egypt.

I love to cook with produce from the garden, and dolma made with our vine leaves is one of my specialties.

In Egypt, dolma is known as mahshy, an Arabic work to mean stuffed, but in other parts of the world the dish is called dolma or dolmades. Essentially, it consists of leaves wrapped around vegetables and rice, and sometimes meat.

In Egypt, we typically use cabbage in the winter and vine leaves in the summer. Stuffing can include rice with crushed red tomatoes, onion, herbs, seasoning and spices with peppers, aubergine, courgettes and tomatoes cooked in chicken or beef stock.

Here is a very simple recipe for you to try. (If you are more adventurous in the kitchen, you can find much more sophisticated recipes through an online search.)


A good quantity of vine (lightly blanched) or cabbage leaves (cooked until just a little soft and cut in half to remove the central stem), cooled

2 cups short grain rice

1 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 onions, very finely chopped

2 cups warm water

2 tomatoes, pureed

Tomato puree

Fresh lemon juice, to taste

Chicken stock cube

Herbs (fresh): parsley, coriander, dill, cumin, mint

Dried Arabic spices: usually cardamom, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, paprika, pepper, and cinnamon

Salt and pepper


  1. Fry the onions in a little oil; add the rice and cook for a minute. Add a little tomato puree.
  2. Add the water, pureed tomatoes and lemon juice, and simmer for a few minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Stir in the herbs and seasoning.
  4. Leave to cool.
  5. Place a little of the mixture on a leaf and fold into a cylindrical package.
  6. Drizzle a little olive oil into a pan and tightly pack the dolma at the bottom. (You can add some sliced tomatoes too if you like.)
  7. Add the rest of the olive oil and place a pan lid or a plate on top (upside down, to hold them in place).
  8. Sprinkle on the crushed chicken stock cube and add enough water to cover the dolma.
  9. Simmer for around 30 minutes to 1 hour until the water has been absorbed and the rice tastes cooked (you’ll find a little rice leaks out of the parcels).
  10. Cool and serve. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Chzu/Shutterstock.com.

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