Many countries have claimed dolma, rolled grape leaves, as their own. During a trip through Greece a few years ago, my sister and I took a Greek cooking class where we learned how to make dolma and our teacher proudly exclaimed this food originated in Greece. But Iran, Iraq, Armenia, and Turkey all have their own version of dolma too. This recipe below is how my Iranian mother-in-law makes her dolma, or dolmeh barge mo.
"How long more?" My husband asks this question enough times for me to know he's not wondering how long our walk will take to get to the river. We've done it a million times. He's asking me how much longer we’ll be staying here in Turkey, how much longer we have to wait for our lives to move forward, and how much longer will we have to live at the mercy of politicians’ decisions.
Arifa unlatches the rusted metal door and collapses the umbrella she used to protect her olive skin from the arid sun. She beckons us inside. With bags and pillows hoisted over our shoulders, we squeeze sideways up the building’s stairs leading to her family’s apartment. “It’s been out-of-order since we moved here,” she waves dismissively at the incommodious elevator.
Carrots for breakfast!? Yes, you heard that right. This wonderfully easy carrot jam is traditionally served at Persian breakfasts alongside a warm slice of bread and some butter and cheese. Morabaye Haveej is a simple recipe with only 6 ingredients and under an hour cooking time. The bursts of cardamom and rose water make the flavor of this jam unique.
Every night during Ramadan (or Ramazan as it's called in Turkey), our town is awakened by the steady beating of a drum. Dressed in traditional Ottoman attire, the drummer weaves his way up and down the neighborhood streets with a stick in one hand and a drum in the other.