Stuffed aubergines (eggplant), peppers and tomatoes are a very popular form of summer dolma across Azerbaijan. Usually, all three are made at the same time. As in yarpaq dolması (stuffed vine leaves), the stuffing is based on minced veal or lamb or a combination of the two.
Preparation time: 1.5 hour
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-6 as a main meal, more as an appetizer
- 6 small aubergines (eggplants)
- 6 medium-sized green peppers
- 6 tomatoes
- 500 g/1lb 4oz minced veal, or 250 g/10oz minced lamb and 250 g/10 oz minced veal
- 200 g/8 oz onion
- salt & pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 bunch of purple basil (reyhan in Azerbaijani), coriander and dill (all optional)
- Wash the aubergines, peppers and tomatoes.
- Top and tail the aubergines and cut a long slit in them lengthways, being careful not to cut right to the bottom or top. Salt the inside of the aubergines and leave for 30 minutes to sweat out any bitterness. Rinse out the salt and pat the insides dry.
- Saute the aubergines for a few minutes in hot vegetable oil.
- Cut the stalks and central part of the tops off the peppers – cut inside the top of the pepper so that the sides still curve inwards at the top. Set aside the tops to use as lids. Remove the seeds and any ribs from inside the peppers.
- Blanch the peppers (steep briefly in boiling water).
- Cut off the tops of the tomatoes and set aside to use as lids. Scoop out the flesh from the middle of the tomato and keep to add to the dolma.
- For the filling, mince the onions together with the meat (this helps to make the filling juicy).
- Add some water to the minced meat and mix into a smooth consisitency. Cook over a low to medium heat for 15 minutes or so, stirring well, until the water has evaporated. Add the cinnamon, turmeric salt & pepper and chopped hers (if using) and cook for another five minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Spoon the filling into the aubergines, peppers and tomatoes. Put the tops back on the peppers and tomatoes as lids.
- Stand the stuffed tomatoes and vegetables upright in a large, shallow saucepan or deep frying pan. Lay the aubergines on their sides in the pan, filling side up.
- Pour two tablespoons of vegetable oil and the chopped tomato flesh over the dolma and cover the pan. Simmer over a low to medium heat for 40 to 50 minutes, watching to make sure that the vegetables do not overcook and become mushy.
- Serve with bread to mop up the juices.