Armenia,  Azerbaijan,  Recipes,  Starters and Snacks,  Vegetarian,  Winter

Vegetarian Tolma from vine leaves

Today I prepared and presented to you the way of making tolma. For the first time, as historians assure, the recipe for tolmu was published already in the 100th century. Today, many people consider tolma their national food, from North Africans to Southern and Eastern Europeans as well as the Middle East. Tolm’s original recipe may seem complicated at first glance. Usually, this illusion is caused by the number of ingredients used. UNESCO has decided that tolma is an intangible cultural heritage of Azerbaijan.

You will need:

vine leaves – canned
400 ready-made  (Chinese cabbage, red or white)
1 cup rice
1 tomato,
fresh mint,
fresh coriander,
1 onion,
lemon juice
olive oil,
½ cup water


You can use canned grape leaves for this recipe. Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Next, finely chop all the vegetables and add them to a large bowl. Place all the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine thoroughly. Apply one teaspoon of the mixture to each leaf. You can put any unused leaves on the bottom.

Place the filled vine leaves in the casserole, seam side down. Mix water, oil and lemon juice and pour over stuffed grape leaves. Place an inverted plate on top to hold them in place and cook for 40 minutes with the lid on. You can remove the plate once the vine leaves have absorbed most of the water. However, if you can’t wait, they are ready to eat immediately.

Peking (Chinese) cabbage – Sweet, neutral; bladder and stomach meridians entered. Action – Tonify the stomach and induce diuresis. Indications – Edema and gastritis.

Cabbage – Sweet, neutral; stomach and kidney meridians entered. Actions – Clear heat, eliminate dampness, dissipate nodules and alleviate pain, replenish the kidney and tonify deficiency. Indications – Jaundice caused by damp-heat, asthenic disease, peptic ulcer, arthritis.

Tomato – fresh nature, sweet and sour flavours, tropism – stomach, liver.
Effects: cleanses heat, gives birth to fluids, nourishes yin, and cools the blood

Black pepper – hot nature, hot taste, tropism – stomach, large intestine.
Effects: heats the middle hearth, stops pain, triggers qi down, and transforms mucus.

Rice – Sweet, neutral; lung and spleen meridians entered. Actions – Tonify qi and strengthen the spleen, relieve restlessness, and arrest diarrhoea. Indications – Poor appetite, qi deficiency in the spleen and stomach, fatigue, diarrhoea, restlessness with thirst.

Salt – cold in nature, salty taste, tropism – kidneys, bladder.
Effects: softens hard, cleanses heat, attacks from below.

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