Here Comes The Groom, Dancing To The Tune! 

I don’t know about ya’ll, but my family isn’t very close.  I barely speak to my own aunts and uncles, let alone cousins and whatnot.

So imagine my surprise when a wedding came up (on the Turkish side!) a little like this:

So and so is having her wedding and we are invited!

Who?

So and so, you know, your husband’s grandmother’s sister’s granddaughter’s child!

…right.  So, family.

But it was amazing!!! Unfortunately I missed the kina gecesi because I was dead on my feet after traveling back from the beach all in a hurry for the festivities.  But the wedding was fantastic!

Fantastic, and very different.  Let me run you through the events to show you just how different a wedding in Turkey is from an American one! Honestly, I think the only thing in common is the white dress, the throwing of the bouquet, cake, and signing a piece of paper!

Let me start by saying that we were related to the bride, so everything I witnessed is from the bride’s side.

First off, the close (ish) family met at the bride’s mother’s house while the bride was getting ready at the salon.  Both men and women from the bride’s side were present, and dressed. We were fed pide and ayran (I guess you could be fed anything?) while family members trickled in as they finished getting ready. The last to show up was the bride, in her full gown and makeup/hair.  She was ready to go! She sat in a chair in the middle of the room and tried to eat a bit while we waited.

What were we waiting for? THE GROOM! (check out my instagram for the video).  Lo and behold, I hear drums and some kind of woodwind instrument.  I was rushed to the balcony to see the wedding party (grooms side) and the groom in his full suit coming with musical accompaniment.  

He entered the house and the bride’s uncle (because her father is no longer with us) tied a red ribbon around the brides waist.  They both gave him the respectful kiss of the hand and pressed his hand to their foreheads, as is tradition. Then the bride dropped her veil and was led from the house.  Before getting into a car decked out in wedding goodies (much like the car our couples drive away in, but at the end) they danced together in Turkish fashion (instagram video).  As the bridal procession started to drive away, an auntie on the bride’s side splashed a gallon of water after them, and another threw coins.

Then we piled into a rental bus and off to the wedding salon we went!

After the huge salon was filled, the bride and groom made their entrance. 

 Everyone danced- A LOT. Sometimes it was brides side, sometimes grooms side, but everyone danced! My favorite part of the dancing is that there is a guy with a big drum that gets in there. I wish I had a picture.  It was great.  Sometimes he would be on the ground banging the hell out of the drum.  People would throw paper money (some real, some fake) over the bride and groom, which was collected for the MC who was managing the music (and the very lively drummer!).

After some dancing (slow dancing and also Turkish style), a pause in the festivities was taken for the legal bit.  The couple were sat at a table, and asked if they wanted to be married (like vows, but it didnt sound like our kind of vows?). They both said yes, music played, and they signed their marriage booklet.  Then they cut a cake (like we do), and some more dancing happened.

Eventually the bride and groom stood wearing sashes for money and gold to be pinned on them.  The guests lined up and pinned money, hung gold bracelets and jewelry, etc. on the couple. 

More dancing, woohoo! Including cultural dances that I didn’t know how to do… 

Finally, at the very very end, after dancing for around 3hrs straight, the couple held a large Turkish flag, and everyone sang the Turkish anthem (except me! GOD BLESS AMERICA! :P)

My ears rang all night, and into the next day!

But…now I kind of want one too.

 

 

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Stale Bread is Not The End!

If you’re anything like me, you HATE stale bread.  As in,  please-dont-make-me-put-this-in-my-mouth HATE.  But with summer upon us, bread goes stale in a matter of a day or two.

Sure, you can turn it into croutons or bread crumbs, but that only gets you so far.  If you want to get rid of multiple loaves of bread (or just one), you can go for ekmek kızartması or…

Drum roll

Ekmek köftesi!

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Basically the regular recipe for fried köfte, but instead of meat use bread!  It may sound weird at first, but it’s so close to a fritter I can’t help but love it :).  Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks for guests, the sky is the limit! Just be careful with the salt…

Ingredients
1 loaf stale bread, torn to pieces and moistened in water
1 egg
1 tbsp flour
50-100g grated tulum cheese (or any cheese), as you prefer
Cumin to taste
Black pepper to taste
Parsley to taste, chopped
Salt to taste (your cheese may be salty so be light with your salt)
Sunflower oil for frying
(Optionals)
Grated onion
Dill
Mint
Anything you think sounds good, because no one can tell you what to do!

Preparation
1. Tear your bread apart and soak it in water.  Squeeze out the excess and place the bread in a bowl.
2. Add all the other ingredients, kneading it like a dough (as described in the köfte recipe).  This should be really soft and blended!
3. If needed, an extra egg can be added if the bread doesn’t stick together well. Also,  if too wet (like you squeeze it and bubbles come out between your fingers), add flour 1 tsp at a time.
4. Pinch off about a golf ball size piece from the dough and work it in your hand, squeezing and rolling it like a stress ball.  Tap it flat with your fingers, at about 1/4 of an inch thick.
5. Heat a skillet with oil for frying. Place your köfte in the pan and let fry until dark golden brown.  Flip them and fry both sides similarly.  Place on a paper towel to soak up the extra oil.

Serve with tomatoes and cucumbers

Afiyet olsun!

An actually palatable green lentil soup!

Green lentil soup lovers of the world, forgive me.

I really don’t like green lentil soup.

Well,  the one instance I ate it out of a Progresso can I didn’t.  I was scarred after that…

I am all about that red lentil,  though.  All day.  Every day.  It’s so versatile! Don’t even get me started on the lentil patties, mmmmm!

Today we made a green lentil soup that (at first I was iffy about but later…) I actually liked! It feels more like a winter soup (thick, warm, stick to your bones kind)… But with the chill the rain brought to is today,  the warmth was very much welcome!

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Ingredients:
2c green lentils, washed and drained (twice!)
1/2c orzo or Turkish vermicelli (fine egg noodle)
Approx 3c hot water
Milk
1.5 tbsp flour
1 chicken bullion cube
2 tbsp sunflower (or anything but olive) oil
2 tbsp margerine
2+ tbsp dried mint (as you like it)
Salt to taste

Preparation
1. After cleaning, put lentils in a large pot with the hot water.  Boil until the lentils are softened (approx 20 min).  Add the orzo/vermicelli and chicken buillion, and cook until everything is soft and the water is nearly cooked out (another 10 mins).  Add 1/2c water at a time if needed to completely cook the lentil.
2. Add milk until the soup is at the consistency you prefer (for this recipe I would use a good 4 or 5c+).  Bring it to a slow boil and let the flavors meld. Add some initial salt to taste.
3. Temper the flour (add small amounts of cold water to a dish with the flour.  Mix it together so that it isn’t lumpy,  making a slurry.  Add a few spoons of the hot soup liquid to the slurry so that it acclimates and doesn’t clump upon hitting the heat) and mix into the soup. Continue mixing until it begins to thicken (a few minutes at most).  You can add more flour in this manner until you are happy with the consistency. Check for saltiness and add if needed.
4. Melt the butter and add the oil together in a separate sauce pan.  Once the butter/oil is sizzling,  add the the mint.  Once it is aromatic (less than a minute),  pour into the soup pot and gently mix, forming swirls of sauce at the top (if preferred, you can add this as a garnish when serving).

Afiyet olsun!

All About Dem Artichokes BABAY

The first time I ever had an artichoke (outside of the jarred artichoke hearts) was in Turkey 4 years ago. Before that I had no idea how to prepare an artichoke, how to cut it, clean it, or even pick it! I knew the taste… But didn’t know it’s versatility or health benefits. Man, was I missing out!

Did you know you can make an artichoke tea from the discarded outer leaves (after drying), and that it’s good for your liver? What a great way to reduce waste when making an artichoke dish (hint hint wink wink)!

When it comes to picking an artichoke I’m still a bit of a novice. However, there are a few things I know for sure!
1. A closed artichoke is a fresh artichoke– Much like a flower, a new bud is fresher than an open flower. Pick an artichoke thats leaves are tightly closed.
2. Spikey plants are old plants– You will notice on the tips of the artichoke leaves are tiny thorns. These get thicker and harder as the plant ages. Look for soft and flexible spikes, indicating a fresher plant.
3.Check the cut– No, I don’t mean a cut like meat… I mean where the artichoke was cut from the plant. If it is very brown it was cut a long time ago. If it is just starting to brown but mostly green, it’s fresh.

Although this sign of freshness is a little late for the consumer… The center fuzzies in the artichoke turn purple as it ages.

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Ingredients:
5 Artichokes, cut into 6ths and cleaned
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 small potatoes, diced
1.5 lemon’s juice
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 heaping tbsp flour
Salt and citric acid (for wash)
4 tbsp olive oil, approx.
2 tbsp fresh diced dill
1/2c fresh peas or bakla (optional)
1 ego’s yolk
Hot water

Preparation:
1. Prepare a salty/sour water bath for your artichokes.  Cut the ends (about 1 inch from the top), so that no tips remain and you can see inside the artichoke. Also cut off the stems (do not discard). Remove a few layers of outer leaves to neaten the appearance.  Cut the artichoke in half and dunk it in the wash. Scoop out the furry center until only the heard heart remains. Let sit in the wash until all are cleaned. Also, clean the outer portions of the stems until only the pale yellow center remains.  Cut into small pieces (about in inch)  and add to the wash.  Once they are all halved and clean,  add 3tbsp flour to the wash.  Mix well and let sit while you prepare the rest.
2. Cut the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Put the onions and potatoes in olive oil in a wide, short pot with a lid.  Begin to cook them until soft on medium high.
3. Cut the artichoke halves into thirds (making 1 artichoke head into 6 pieces).  Add to the pot along with the trimmed stems. Squeeze 1 lemon over the top of the artichoke, sprinkle the sugar and salt, then stir well.
4. Add the potato and (optional bakla or peas) stir again.  Let the veggies cook in their own juices, stirring occasionally.  Finally, pour hot water over the mixture until the tops are just sticking out, do not submerge! Cover and let cook on low (boiling)  for about an hour or until everything is soft.
5. Temper the remaining 1 tbsp flour with a little cool water and the water from the artichoke to make a slurry. Mix into the pot and allow to boil lightly until thickened.
6. Whip the juice of 1 lemon with the yolk of 1 egg. Mix in hot juice from the food until the egg begins to cook. Pour over the top of the artichoke mixture and gently press into the hot liquid with a spoon, but don’t mix!
7. Sprinkle dill over the mixture and cover. Turn off the stove (but do not remove from the heat!) and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Afiyet olsun!

Spring is coming… And so is taze fasulye!

Springs is coming… Which means a lot of my favorite foods are coming back in season! Eggplant, strawberries, and tomatoes…

Oh my!

One of my favorites that I always struggled to make stateside was green beans/ pole beans… Commonly known as taze fasulye in Turkey. I could never make them as tasty and soft as what I had eaten years ago…

But now I have the recipe! I will never want for taze fasulye AGAIN! Buahaha!

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Ingredients:
1kg taze fasulye (either green beans or pole beans), julienned
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, julienned
1 Charleston pepper, chopped
2 tbsp salça (tomato or mixed)
10 tbsp tomato juice/konserve (or canned diced tomatoes with juice)
4 tsp sugar
4 tsp salt
Approx 1/4c olive oil
Hot water

Preparation:
1. Wash and julienne beans by slicing down their center and cutting across to form 1 inch length pieces.  If the beans husk is rubbery/hard to cut, remove the beans from inside and discard the husk. Let soak in room temp water while continuing prep.
2.  Prepare your peppers, onions, and carrots accordingly.  Add to a pot with olive oil and salça, mixing well. Add the sugar and turn on the heat to high.
3. Add the beans to the pot and DO NOT MIX! Spoon the tomato juice on top, lastly evenly distributing the salt on top.  Still do not mix!
4. Cover and cook on high until the beans turn light green (approximately 30mins). Pour hot water over the beans until half an inch of beans is exposed. Don’t mix it now either!
5. Cover and cook on low for about one hour or until beans are soft. The boiling will mix everything for you 🙂

Afiyet olsun!

Bereketli olmuş

You know how,  even when everything in your life seems so terrible and stressful and just awful in every way, a table full of awesome food can make it better?

Or maybe that’s just me…

As hubby and I continue to stress as we do, our world stopped for the half our it took to eat this meal (as seen on my insta a few days ago, over there on the right hand side) .  I would have to say fried eggplant based dishes are my soul food. I was literally jumping for joy as I made it with Anne (another moment when being a part time maid pays off). Just looking at the heaping piles of meat filling the velvety eggplant made me stop and thank God for the things that we do have,  even when it doesn’t always seem like much.  We are so blessed with bereket, though a lot of the time we are looking for it in another form.

Anyway,  I hope this recipe warms your heart as much as it did ours.

So without further ado

*And let me clarify by tbsp I literally mean a table spoon/çorba kaşığı… And tsp is a literal tea spoon/çay kaşığı

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Karnıyarık (for 4)

Ingredients:
250g ground beef
8 Japanese (long skinny) eggplants
1 onion, diced (finely is preferred)
4 banana peppers, 2 diced and 2 stripped (those long pale green peppers everyone buys here look like banana peppers to me).
3 tomatos, 1 diced with juice reserved and 2 cut in slices
4 tbsp mixed salça (pepper and tomato)
6 tbsp tomato konserve (watery tomato sauce)
Approx 4 cups hot water
3 tsp salt plus more for rubbing and
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp dried mint
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil for sauce
Sunflower oil for frying

Preparation
1. Peel stripes into the eggplants, cutting down the middle at half depth on one bare stripe (I usually put 3 stripes per eggplant).  Within that cut, score the fleshy sides (2 cuts) of the eggplant (this increases cooking speed while preserving the structural integrity of the eggplant). Soak in salty water for 20 to 30 mins as needed.
2. Meanwhile,  dice onion and 2 peppers,  placing them in a bowl.
3. Chop dill and parsley, placing in a separate bowl.
4. Chop green onion, placing in a third separate bowl. You now probably have no bowls haha.
5. Once the time has elapsed, remove eggplants from water and squeeze them to wring out any excess. Taking pinches of salt, rub the exposed flesh and inside of the eggplant with salt.  Shallow fry (half an inch of oil standing in the pan) the eggplants, turning them as needed. They should be completely cooked at this stage nice and soft.
6. Carefully remove eggplants once cooked from the pan and place in a baking dish, sliced side up. Open the sliced part with a spoon and gently press it so it stays open but doesn’t tear. Crowded is good. Put the slices of one garlic clove evenly into each eggplant
7. With a small amount of oil that should be in the frying pan, cook the ground beef until light brown. Add the onion and peppers,  allowing to cook until soft.
8. Add 3 tbsp of salça and cook into the mixture until smooth. Add the diced tomato and 4 tbsp konserve. The mixture should still be thick.
9. Add green onion, salt, and spices.  Cook until the juices simmer.
10. Turn off the stove and add the parsley and dill.  Spoon the filling into the eggplant evenly.  Fill it up! Fill it up!
11. Prepare a sauce in your now empty pan with the remaining 1 tbsp salça, 2 tbsp konserve, and olive oil.  Cook until smooth, then add the hot water.  The sauce should be very watery.
12. Pour sauce into the crevices of the baking dish so you do not disturb the filling. It should all spread out and saturate the eggplant.  Place the sliced tomatoes and stripped peppers decoratively across the top.
13. Bake in the oven at the degree of delicious (250C) until sauce boils and reduces by about half (30 to 40 minutes).  Let cool until you don’t hurt yourself.

Serve with literally anything because this is the best.  We ate it with cacık and piyaz salatası (bean salad,  recipe later because this was hard enough)

Afiyet olsun

*Also want to add for our resident vegans/vegetarians I’ve made this successfully with chopped mushrooms and extra tomato in lieu of meat.

Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’… (Hala’s sarma recipe)

Rollin’ sarma,  that is!

As much as I gripe about chores being piled on me,  it really pays off when it comes to things like this.

Hubby’s grandpa is in the hospital, likely running out his last days.  That has brought his hala (aunt) to our door.  In order to keep her mind off of the unpleasantness,  we’ve been making foods that are traditionally prepared with a few sets of hands.  Sarma is one of them!  Now I can say without a doubt that I get why women would come together in groups to prepare this delicacy.  All of that rolling is WORK!

But it’s wonderful, bonding work.  I sat there and rolled sarma with them,  listening to them gossip and cracking a smile when I understood something they said.  Stopping a moment to enjoy the scent of the pickled leaves and spices on my fingers (and being teased about sticking my nose in everything!).

Sarma has a long and delicious history in Turkish culture,  and will eventually end up on every Turkish table sometime in the year.  Enjoy this recipe best by preparing it with family or friends.  Even better,  share your final product and show everyone that non-Turks can make it too 😉 (or if you’re a Turk,  up your cooking game haha).
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Ingredients:
6 cups rice, washed and drained
2 onions, finely diced
1 bunch parsley, diced
1 bunch dill, diced
1 bunch green onion, diced
5 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp pepper paste
2 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dolma spice
1 tsp sugar
5 tbsp olive oil

0.5 kilo pickled grape leaves

Preparation:

1.  Wash the grape leaves and blanch them in lightly boiling water for 5 seconds (do this in batches).  Let drain in a colander.
2. Cook onion to softness with 3tbsp olive oil.  Stir in 3 tbsp tomato paste and all pepper paste and let simmer until smooth.
3. Add washed and drained rice,  mixing continuously and cooking on medium high.  It should sizzle.
4. Cook rice for about 10 minutes or until very dry and the pastes are slightly browning.  Add all spices and remaining oil. Mix well. Allow to cool.
5. Add herbs and green onion to the mix after it has cooled.
6. Place filling in grape leaf and roll like a burrito (as shown below).  It should be tightly rolled and the size of a cigarette in thickness.
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7. Layer sarma in a pot,  with the bottom covered with the herb stems.
8. In a separate pan,  cook remaining 2 tbsp of tomato paste in approx 2c water until smooth. Much like dolma, the sarma needs to cook in a sauce to maintain flavor. Pour hot tomato sauce into the pot.  Add water until sarmas are just covered. Use a clay topper or a bowl to weigh them down and prevent floating.
9. Bring to a low boil and cook until rice is done (approx.  40 min). Don’t be shy to bite one to check.
10. Let cool to room temp.  Good hot or cold.

Serve with lemon and yogurt

Afiyet olsun!!

What Doesn’t Kill You

My dear friends and readers, I want to put your minds at ease.

When it comes to our relationship…

Me and hubby are just fine.  Great, actually. Maşallah!

A lot of my posts have been really depressing,  if not a little disturbing,  as of late.  Yes, as far as other aspects of our lives are concerned… It kinda feels like a wrecking ball came flying in through the wall followed by a legion of space aliens intent on probing us in unpleasant ways.  We may or may not be their dinner, it is not yet clear.

But we are holding each other’s hands through it, and telling each other it will be ok.

Aside from the mysterious shroud that’s been upon us since last year that… Hopefully… I’ll be able to release to you in a bit, I’ve been struggling with filling my role as a bride in Turkey.

Not wife,  but bride.  It’s a little different.  It comes from my in laws’ perspective rather than my husband’s.

But when it comes to my hubby,  he is a gem.  He is always willing to give me a hand when I need it, pamper me when I want it (and even sometimes when I dont), and bend over backwards to make our current situation as comfortable for me as possible.  Some things can’t be helped though, like the increasing expectations being put on me by others.  We can’t do much about that without making this delicate living situation far worse.  So for now I have the grin and bear it, waiting until we are able to start our own lives,  just the two of us.

While all of these things have been putting a lot of stress on us, it’s just another battle that we have to go through together.  Our lives have been nothing but battle after battle against outside forces trying to make things hard for us.  At this point we are more than just husband and wife,  we are life battle buddies.  But I guess those two things are the same.

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Rough weather ahead...

Well,  you know what they say…what doesnt kill you makes you stronger.  And we aren’t going down without a fight.

First Wife Syndrome

  While the world begins to fret about a new(ish) virus epidemic, I’ve been struggling with my own illness.

Commonly known as first wife syndrome,  this illness is at epidemic proportions in Turkey and commonly occurs in the first wives of families.  It can be particularly aggressive in families with no daughters, and non-Turks seem to suffer the worst from the symptoms.  This affliction can range from very mild to debilitating, and there is no easy way to predict who it will strike. 

Symptoms include,  but are not limited to, back pain, neck pain, head aches, upset stomach, depression, mood swings, lethargy, exhaustion, and general malaise.

But no, really.

Like I described before in a recap of things I love and hate about Turkey, there’s a different standard applied to women rather than men.  In the most extreme cases,  it can manifest as women being treated as near slaves in the house.  This extends to wives, where the women marrying into a family are expected to take on the work of the senior woman in the house (mother in law) when they are there.  This has recently become more of a burden on me too.

Don’t get me wrong,  I have no problem with helping.  What I don’t like is doing things on my own when it isn’t something I’m doing just for me.  For example, forgive me if I get mad about doing my brother in laws laundry.  He’s not my husband and therefore not my problem.

This has been more of a problem since the winter started,  since my mother in law is prone to illness.  The first week it was OK,  but after a month of being asked to make tea (when I don’t want it),  make enough pita bread (lavaş) for our 5 person family without help,  do other people’s laundry, etc… Mmmmm how about no.

But what can I do? If I say no,  I’ll start a traditional rift between wife and mother in law.

This really made my blood boil when I was being told to assist my husband’s aunt in her serving us (as guests) when her own grown female grandchildren were not being made to lift a finger.  This is not normal in American culture (as I know it), and when we first got here nothing was expected of me, it was just a pleasant bonus when I helped so frequently.  But as I’m learning to do things on my own,  it seems that they’ve forgotten I’m not Turkish.

Maybe I should be flattered?

Nah,  I’ll just be mad.

Hopefully things will improve when we move out of my in laws house.  Whenever that will be. The longer I stay the more culture shocks I go through… Is that how it’s supposed to happen?

And now I kind of feel bad for feeling this way! Just because things are different doesn’t make them wrong…

But I can’t turn off 25 years of living my life with a different set of expectations!

What is an expat to do?

Dried eggplant dolmas

While I do enjoy a chill in the air, I am not a winter person.  During the dog days of summer I always convince myself that winter is something to look forward to.  The only real benefit to this season is cute sweaters, layered looks, and a few foods like ayva and chestnuts.

Yesterday we had a call back to summer, enjoying the fruits of our favorite season.

Dried eggplant dolma!

My favorite food has got to be fresh pepper dolmas.  Oh yes, delicious goodness.  But that’s not a viable option in the winter when the price of tomatoes, peppers, and other necessities triple in price!

Although it’s still not expensive compared to US food prices

As I talked about before, back in August when we first came back to Turkey, the joys of summer can be preserved in jars or on strings in dried form.  As the winter begins to wane, enjoy this recipe while you await the first signs of spring!

As always, measurements are approximations made by eye.

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Ingredients:

20 dried eggplant halves
5 dried peppers (mild), chopped
Approx 200g ground beef
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp pepper paste
4 tbsp olive oil
2.5c rice, washed
4 green onions, diced
Dill and parsley, diced
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dried mint
Cumin
Black pepper

Preparation
1.  First,  rehydrate the eggplant in slow boiling water until pliable. Remove from water and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
2.  Meanwhile, cook dried peppers in olive oil.  Add meat and cook to completion. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste and pepper paste, stirring to incorporate into the oil.  Add rice and simmer in the oil and natural juice for for 10 minutes,  stirring.
3. Cut the heat and add herbs, spices (only 1 tbsp salt.  Adjust salt to your preference!) , and green onion. Using a spoon or your fingers, fill eggplant halves approximately 2/3 full. Squeeze the opening closed with your fingers. If eggplant is torn, patch with other strips of eggplant.
4.  Layer evenly in a pot.  I will typically keep the thicker portions of the eggplant on the bottom of the pot (such as the bottom halves as opposed to the top halves).  Lay the eggplants on their sides and fill in a spiral fashion, keeping the sealed mouths of the eggplant closed with the bottom of the next one. Drizzle the final layer ever so lightly with olive oil.
5.  This step is where I’ve been messing up my whole life.  Put the water you will cook the dolma in into the pan/pot where you prepared the filling.  Further season the water with the remaining tbsp of paste and salt.  Bring water to a brief boil. *if you don’t season the water, a flavor osmosis will occur.  All the goodness of the filling you just prepared will leak into the water… This will ruin your dolma!!!
6.  Fill the dolma pot with water until it covers the dolma with approximately half an inch extra.  If you have it,  cover the dolmas with a cabbage leaf or something, then weigh them down with a terracotta lid with holes (I have no idea what it’s called). Let simmer on low for half an hour to 40 minutes (starting at the time of simmering).

Let sit after removing from water.  Serve with yogurt and lemon.

Afiyet olsun!

*dolma is something unique to each city, so everyone has a different recipe. How do YOU make dolma?