Armenia- Tolmas Recipe

Armenia Tolmas

When I went to Armenia, my favourite traditional dish was tolmas. These are made of grape vine leaves wrapped around meat and rice with tomato sauce. Although they are similar to the Greek dolmas, there is a stronger tomato taste, and less rice. Almost every restaurant served them, and the tastiest I had were at Vinograd Wine Restobar. The people were very friendly and welcoming, and the tolmas were homemade by one of the servers. Delicious! This recipe for tolmas is a close approximation and reminds me of my trip to Yerevan. Hope you will enjoy them too!

Preparing meat mixture for Tolmas
Meat mixture with rice


250g minced lamb
250g minced pork
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
100g long grain rice
1-2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
20g each of parsley and coriander, chopped
1 Tbsp water
150g tomato sauce
50 pickled grape vine leaves


150ml soured cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of salt

Rolling tolmas
Rolled tolmas in a pot


First, in a large bowl mix the minced meat with salt, pepper, chopped onion, garlic, parsley and coriander using your hands. Add the rice, tomato sauce and a little water and mix again. Set aside the filling.

Rinse the grape vine leaves with water to remove the extra salt. Place a few leaves (broken ones are ideal) in the bottom of a large pot. Then you can start rolling the tolmas. Put some of the meat mixture near the stem end of the leaf. Shape the meat into a long and thin sausage shape. Then fold the sides in and roll it up like a cigar. Place seam-side down in the pot. Repeat until all of the filling is used up.
Then fill the pot with cold water to the top of the tolmas. Cover and cook over medium heat for an hour.
In the meantime, prepare the sauce. You can simply mince the garlic and mix it in to the soured cream. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Traditionally, the cream is a fermented milk called matsun but soured cream or plain yoghurt will work as well.

Cover tolmas with a layer of vine leaves
Tomato sauce mixture

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