What is Etchmiadzin Dolma?

In answer to a recent inquiry about how Etchmiadzin dolma
differs from regular dolma, Ara Kassabian offered a brief explanation and recipe. Ara notes that the main distinguishing characteristic of
Etchmiadzin dolma, apparently, is the additional use of apples and quince.

Apples and Quince (Image from lavenderandlovage.com)

Here is a recipe Ara translated from Armenian into English for our benefit. His comments are in bold print inside [square brackets].

Stuffing ingredients:
1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs.) of beef, ground
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup rice [I
suggest short-grained or ordinary long-grained–not Basmati]
Tomato paste
Salt, red pepper, black pepper
Mixed fresh herbs [Recipe
does not say, but I would suggest parsley, plus mint or dill]
1 head cabbage, outer leaves removed, inner leaves
separated and blanched
1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs.) of tomatoes
1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs.) eggplant
500 g (approx. 1 lb.) green pepper
1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs.) of apples
50 g (approx. 3 ½ Tbsp.) melted butter
Additional tomato paste


1. Make the stuffing by mixing all the ingredients.
2. Core the
vegetables [I usually add the core
material back into the stuffing, but that is optional].

3. Fill the cored
vegetables and the cabbage leaves with the stuffing [Note: Dolma in Eastern Armenia is made much larger than in Western
4. Place a platter on the bottom of a pot and arrange the
stuffed vegetables tightly on top of it. Cover with water and an inverted plate
to keep everything in place [Note: The
purpose of the plate at the bottom of the pot is to prevent the dolma from
burning. I suggest using the leftover cabbage leaves, parsley stems, etc., instead].
Cover and cook for 40 minutes (high heat until the water boils, then lower
to a simmer). 10 minutes before removing from the fire, add the melted butter
and tomato paste.
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