Original name: Biber dolmasi (“Tree in the sunset”)
8-9 bell peppers, green, mid size
1 cup rice, a round and small sort
1 cup parsley, stem removed, chopped
½ cup dill, stem removed, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped in cubes
½ cup olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp pepper paste (if not available, substitute with tomato paste)
1 lemon, zest
a pinch of sugar
Spices to the taste around 1-2 teaspoons of each, written from more to less amount: black pepper, salt, sumac (sour taste), yenibahar (clove like taste), chili flakes, cinnamon, cumin
Optional: ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
Prepare the filling:
Roast two onions until brown with olive oil and sugar in the pan in high to mid heat, add the rice. Add ⅓ cup boiling water with tomato paste and stir while the rice is getting softer. Take the pan off the stove, add tomatoes, lemon juice and spices and stir. Leave it to cool down for five minutes and then add the herbs (parsley etc.). After it cools down, add more olive oil and more lemon juice to taste.
Prepare the sauce:
Roast one onion and pepper paste until brown with olive oil and sugar in the pot.
Depending on the peppers, find a way to get an opening on the top and remove their seeds. You can simply cut them or press them in the middle to remove everything in one piece.
Fill the peppers with the filling, cover the opening with skin slices of tomato, and place vertically in the pot. Add boiling water to cover half of the peppers. Put a plate and a bowl filled with water on the plate. This is not a must, but they keep their shape better this way. Cook till the rice is completely tender in around 15 min., you don’t want to overcook till the peppers get very soft.
You can put them into the oven to give them a nice brown when they are cooked or completely cook in the oven covered with a foil opening at the end for a few minutes. If available, mix some greek cheese based cappelletti filling to the usual rice filling (tastes amazing!) or just feta for a more creamy version.