Stuffed vegetables or Dolma is a Mediterranean family dish with a few variations depending on the countries, wether related to the type of vegetables used, the spices or the herbs. However, the idea is the same: core the vegetables and stuff them before cooking them to tenderness.
The Moroccan version also depends on families and their preferences.
When I was living with my parents at a young age, I do remember that both of them cooked stuffed vegetables, only for some reason, my father’s version tasted better than my mothers. This is something she won’t admit but I remember that my father’s version of the dish had properly infused bay leaf and a thick sauce in it. And I liked it that way!
Some people use pressure cooker to make this dish, which obviously takes less time, especially for working parents (like mine, in the old days).
But then you could also cook the stuffed vegetables in a deep cooking pot over gas and finish it off in the oven which is what my father used to do.
I decided to cook mine in the oven, sealed with foil so nothing escapes..
Serve 2 to 4
Prep: 20 min – Cooking: 1 to 2 hours (over a cooker or in the oven)
- 2 courgettes or zucchinis (long or round ones)
- 2 medium-size potatoes, peeled
- 2 large carrots, peeled
- 2 medium-size tomatoes
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 300 g of tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or tinned)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 tbsp coriander, chopped
- 1 tbsp of parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne (optional)
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- Salt to taste
- 1 + 2 tbsps of olive oil
For the rice filling
- 1/2 rice, long or basmati, washed and presoaked for 30 min
- 1/2 cup of the chunky bits from the tomato sauce cooked above
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp of turmeric
- A pinch of saffron threads (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
Core the vegetables,keep what’s been removed on the side, except for the carrots. Place all vegetables in a bowl.
In a deep cooking pan, saute half of the chopped onions for a few minutes along with the bay leaves(use 1 tbsp of oil). Add garlic, followed by tomatoes and all the spices/herbs. Stir and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
Add about 1 cup of water and let simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, over medium heat.
At the same time, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add the spices and the bay leaf. Add the rice and cook for 5 minutes (basmati) and 15 minutes (long rice). The rice should be half-cooked.
Drain and set aside to cool.
Fish out the large bits or tomatoes and onions using a regular tablespoon or a frying spatula. Mix all those bits with the rice.
|It’s important that the rice is halfway cooked as it will carry on cooking in the sauce.|
Stuff the vegetables with the rice mixture.
In a deep baking pan or a heavy-bottomed saucepan/cooking pot, scatter the rest of the chopped onions at the bottom, the bay leaves from the tomato sauce. Place the vegetables side by side along with their cores. If there is any leftover rice, form balls with your hands and place them there too.
Add about a 1/2 cup of water to the tomato sauce, correct the seasoning. The sauce should cover at least 2/3 of the vegetables.
Cover and bake (at 160 degrees C, sealed with foil) or cook on medium low heat.
Garnish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.
For a non vegetarian version of Moroccan stuffed vegetables, add:
-1/2 cup of ground beef which you season with
– A generous pinch of cinnamon
– A pinch of ground pepper
– 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
– 1/2 tsp of sweet paprika
– 1 tbsp of olive oil
Mix all the ingredients with your hands and then mix the ground meat with rice. Stuff according to the recipe