Dolma is an Azeri word and in cooking culture means stuffed or filled. There are many forms of dolma including: stuffed grape leaves, stuffed eggplant( aubergine), zucchini, tomato, bell pepper, onion, potato, cabbage leaves.
The following recipe is an Azerbaijani recipe for dolma which is popular in Baku and Nakhchivan. This dolma is called Uch baji. Uch means three and baji means sister in Azerbaijani language and is mixture dolma made with eggplant, bell pepper and tomato which is called ‘ Badimjan, beber ve pomidor dolmasi in Azeri.
Dolma is simmered in it’s own meat juice and oil and serves with garlic-yogurt sauce. In some recipes use yellow split peas and rice, but it’s just a matter of taste and is optional.
- 1 large eggplant ( aubergine)
- 1 large firm tomatoes
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper
- 300g ground beef or lamb
- 4 tbsp yellow split peas, cooked
- 1 bunch of coriander, washed and finely chopped
- ½ bunch dill, finely chopped
- ½ bunch mint, finely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- slat and pepper to taste
- Olive oil or butter
Cut a long slit down the middle of the eggplant, be careful, not to cut too deep. Soak the eggplant in a bowl full of cold water with 1 tbsp salt for 20 minutes to remove bitterness. Then drain and dry it. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the eggplant until all sides brown and soft enough to open the slit ( about 10 minutes).
Cut top off the bell pepper and remove the seeds. Cut top off the tomato and scoop out the tomato flesh and save it for stuffing.
In a bowl, add ground meat with grated onion. Season with salt and pepper, add turmeric. Mix together.
Heat the oil over medium heat and add meat mixture. Fry until brown. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and add chopped herbs, cooked split peas and tomato flesh and mix well.
Fill the vegetables with stuffing mixture. Place them in a deep pan or saucepan. Pour remaining of stuffing around your vegetables, add some oil and water. Cover the tomato and pepper with their lids. Cover the pot and simmer the dolma until all are cooked and tender but not be mushy. Serve dolma as they are or with yogurt-garlic sauce.