The Armenian Weekly recently ran an article written by (and about) Canadian Lena Tachdjian, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (C.N.P.) who arrived in Armenia in 2011 as a strict vegan. At first Lena found it difficult to keep her veganism in check. To help sustain herself, she carried around vegan protein bars, which according to her ‘tasted like Play-doh’, and a suitcase filled with nutritional supplements.
|Lena Tachdjian and friend!|
As part of her nutritional journey, Lena created her own
travel and nutrition blog, The Traveling Chamelian – Adapting without Compromising.
dish” she has ever eaten anywhere – Basoots Dolma (or BasutshTolma, according to my buddy Ara who just returned from Armenia).
cabbage leaf and contains lentils, chickpeas, red kidney beans, and grains
(spelt or bulgur), mixed with spices. It is served cold and sometimes with
dried apricot.” She continues that “it is a vegan’s dream come true – a
complete protein packed with iron and B-12 (from the pickled cabbage), and is
for the recipe.
She responded swiftly with an English translation of it, noting
some important points:
seems correct except for the cabbage part. The basoots dolma I know has pickled
cabbage that’s cooked after pickling, and that is the traditional
way, but in this recipe the cooked cabbage is not pickled. I will ask
around and see if I can get the pickled recipe, but for now this is the recipe
to 3 Tbsp.) of salt to 1 liter (approx. 4 cups) of water for about 2 weeks. If
you want it to take less days, you can put the leaves in boiling water for a
few seconds just before you put it in salt.”
cracked wheat, aka bulgur)
(paprika, or perhaps Aleppo red pepper – definitely NOT cayenne!)
much you prefer)
(however much you like), parsley (however much you like)
NOTE: Tsitron is also known as
‘kondar’ or, in English, ‘savory’
all locations. Ground savory is generally available in the spice section of
thought is that one can use canned red beans, such as kidney beans, and canned
chick peas to speed things up, although this might be frowned upon in Armenia!)
on the stove to cook. When the onions become golden, add 1 TBSP. red pepper
(paprika or Aleppo red pepper), the dried tsitron (if available) and very
little basil, and leave them to cook together, at least for 5 minutes.
that, add 4 TBSP tomato paste, and wait a couple of minutes, so that it will
cook. Then add the cooked red beans, the peas, the chickpeas, and the lentils (not
cooked/boiled), the grains and the rice.
Mix all of this very well together,
and then add 1 TBSP. salt, chopped cilantro and parsley. Again, mix it well,
cover the pot and leave it for about 30 minutes.
salt. At that time, get the large head of cabbage, and remove the leaves from
the stem. When the water begins to boil, add the leaves into the boiling water.
When the leaves of the cabbage become softer/tender, remove them add put them
into cold water right away. Then you can cut out the very tough areas of the
cabbage leaves, so that they will not interfere when you are wrapping the
they are very large and you are having trouble, you can also place them on a
cutting board. Add about 1-2 TBSP. of the filling and wrap the dolma in a very
and begin placing the wrapped dolmas on top. You can then cook it, covered, for about 30
minutes. This dish is eaten cold.