- 15-20 fresh Aibika leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (100g) brown rice, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons currants
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped mint
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup water, extra
- juice of 1 large lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, extra
- lemon wedges, to serve
Trim the stalks off the Aibika leaves, then blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse.
Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat and cook the onion gently until soft and lightly golden, then add the rice. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring then add the pine nuts, currants, parsley, mint, salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the 3/4 cup water, then cover with a lid and cook very gently for about 12 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the rice is nearly tender.
Place the leaves smooth-side-down on a clean bench, a few at a time. Put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each leaf. Fold the stem end up, followed by the sides, then roll up tightly to form a log shape.
Use any torn leaves to line the base of a small, heavy-based frying pan (with a lid), then put the dolmades in the pan, in one layer, seam-side down. Pack them as close as possible to prevent them from unfolding during cooking. Cover the top with more leaves. Combine 1 cup of water and lemon juice with the remaining olive oil and pour over dolmades. Place a small plate over the top of them, to hold them in place; then top with the lid. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a very low simmer and cook for 45 – 60 minutes, or until they are very tender.
Remove from the heat and let sit, without taking the lid off until cool. When cool, transfer to a container, cover and chill until serving time. Serve with extra lemon, to squeeze over.
A drizzle of Lemongrass Balsamic can be stirred through the cooled mixture prior to filling each leaf.