Dolma – a French Kurdish story

Dolma – a French Kurdish story

Our vine leaves come from my grandfather’s allotment here in Bristol. About this time of year (spring) the leaves come out and Dolma is one of our favourite dishes as a family”.

French-born Natalie moved to Bristol with her French mother and Kurdish father when she was eight years old. “when I was growing up, we ate all kinds of food from all over the world – and a lot of Kurdish food too. My main childhood memory is of the smell of plain boiling rice: rice with sauces is one of the main staples in Kurdish cooking”.

“A lot of cultures and countries make Dolma (stuffed vine leaves), but in different ways. This is one of my favourite dishes – we used to eat it all the time when I was a child. You don’t need to soak our vine leaves because they’re very young when we pick them – you can also freeze them when they’re fresh, so you can make them all year round.

 Natalie has inherited her grandfather’s passion for gardening: “I have my own allotment now. I’m growing some beetroot, peas, potatoes, and I have quite a few things waiting to be planted on my windowsill but the weather isn’t good!”

“Food for me is about enjoyment, flavour and, yeah, sharing!”

Dolma (stuffed vine leaves)

Here is Natalie’s recipe for Dolma. She says: here’s a handy tip: if you put broad beans at the bottom of the parcels , it stops them from burning. Rest them in water, bring it to the boil, then simmer for about an hour. One day you should come and try it!”



1 packet of vine leaves, rinsed


3 tbsp. of mild olive oil (warmed)

6 spring onions, chopped

1 small bunch of dill, chopped

1 ½ cups of Arborio Rice

1 ½ tablespoons of plain yoghurt

A pinch of turmeric (to taste)

Season with salt and pepper


Mix together all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl, very well.

Wrap a good spoonful of the mixture in the vine leaves and place in a non-stick pan.

Add 2 ½ glasses of water, bring to the boil and simmer on a gentle heat for 30 -35 minutes.