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Greeks and Turks Unite Against Common Enemy: Ketchup on Dolmades

Ketchup on Dolmades: a serious infringement of cultural rights? Credit: Twitter/Umut Acar

Greeks and Turks should unite against a common enemy, namely ketchup on dolmades, wrote a prominent Turkish diplomat on Twitter recently.

Umut Acar, who has served in several countries and is now at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, posted a photo with a dish of dolmades covered by ketchup which is a big no-no for both Greeks and Turks.

“Despite our differences, I still believe that Turks & Greeks should unite against the common enemy,” he wrote.

His comment became viral with hundreds of retweets and likes from both Greeks and Turks.

“Who would put KETCHUP ON DOLMADAKIA?” a Greek Twitter user commented in anger.

“This is a crime against gastronomy,” another says. “The use of ketchup on sacrosanct dolma is a serious infringement of cultural rights,” a third person commented.

Origins, types, and cooking dolmades

Dolmades, also commonly known as dolma or sarma, is a family of stuffed dishes associated with Ottoman cuisine. They are common in modern national cuisines of regions and countries that once were part of the Ottoman Empire.

Some types of dolma are made with whole vegetables, fruit, offal or seafood while others are made by wrapping grape, cabbage, or other leaves around the filling.

In Greek cuisine, dolmades are usually stuffed vine leaves or (more rarely) stuffed cabbage leaves. The leaves are stuffed, then rolled into little logs and cooked.

Dolmades made with grapevine leaves are usually suitable for vegetarians since they are typically stuffed with rice and herbs. They are then served at room temperature with lemon wedges and yogurt. Although Dolmades might not be wrapped in seaweed, the grapevine leaves help perfectly balance the flavors in this traditional dish.

Much like trendy sushi platters, this dish can be made in a variety of ways. Lahano dolmades, or Greek cabbage rolls, are a bit heavier and are usually served as a main course.

These are made of stuffed cabbage leaves filled with rice, seasonings and minced meat such as beef or pork. They are served warm or at room temperature and with a delicious sauce made of egg and lemon called avgolemono.

Making these scrumptious delights can be a bit of a challenge for beginners, but there is plenty of help out there to get the grapevines rolling.

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