Little known fact about me? I love to travel. And there is much of this world I have yet to see — but it’s on my list.
One of my life’s journeys, moons ago, brought me to the beautiful city of Tbilisi, Georgia. The country, not the state.
Tbilisi itself is gorgeous, full of vibrant life and abundant history. Throughout the city, an eclectic mix of both archaic and innovative architecture line the populated streets. Off of cobblestoned roads are tiny shops with hidden treasures and restaurants with decadent dishes. And outside of the endless lights and sounds is a subdued, mountainous region that rivals the beauty of the city within.
The vast landscape is far from empty, though.
Atop of mountains sit massive, ancient stone churches. Within them are rich textures and breathtaking religious works of art. Even without considering myself a religious person, I could feel the presence of the church. An aura emanates from each brick and each surface. Without words, the place speaks of a story.
It was an experience I won’t forget. And since I couldn’t take the city home with me, I could at least keep the recipe.
It’s one I couldn’t live without it!
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 cup of white rice (dry)
4 cloves of garlic
1 whole white onion
1 teaspoon red pepper
½ teaspoon of coriander
1 jar of grape leaves
salt & pepper to taste
Cook rice according to package directions and finely chop the garlic and onion.
I used jasmine rice because that’s what was available and I used my food processor because I’m a too lazy and unskilled to try that shit with a knife. If you are, more power to you!
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and, well, mix.
Now onto the fun part. . .
Remove the leaves from jar and rinse thoroughly. Once rinsed, set up your tolma rolling station.
Flatten the leaves, and place a small amount of the mixture onto the grape leaves.
Now roll the bottom corners upwards.
And roll the outer corners inward; Complete the roll.
I suggest recruiting help rolling the tolmas to shorten the process, personally.
Roll until your mixing bowl is empty.
Line a large, empty pot with rolled tolmas. You want to make sure that they are as close to each other as you can possibly get them.
You will need to boil salted water separately, and add the boiling water to the pot of tolma until they are covered.
Then, cover tolma with a plate and a heavy object. In my case, I chose a cake pan, because it fit, and another pan to weigh it down.
Cook on medium heat for around 30 – 40 minutes.
For the dip, finely chop 3 gloves of garlic and mix with approximately a cup of sour cream.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!