Potoler Dolma: Indian impact on Turkish Dolma recipe


Potoler Dolma: Indian impact on Turkish Dolma recipe


The Turkish exports famous in India are most certainly the Kebabs and Kofte (Kofta). The Bakhlava sweet never really made it in India despite centuries of rule by rulers of Turkish origin in the Sultanate period.

It must however be noted that several Central and West Asian countries like Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Lebanon and Iraq claim their respective regions to be the origin of Kebas, Kofta and Bakhlava. Even Greece and Armenia and Balkan republics have their versions of these recipes leading to greater difficulty in ascertaining the originality about their origin.

Adding its name to this list is Dolma. Dolma in Turkish means stuffed. Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes common in the Middle East and Balkans and surrounding regions of Central Russia and adjoining Russia. The most commonly used vegetables to stuff are tomato, zucchini, onions and eggplant among others. These are wrapped in grape or cabbage leaves. Sometimes these are referred as Sarma also (from Sarmak or wrap). Arabs use Mahshi as a synonym for this category of prepared food. Minced meat is also used as stuffing. Several variants exist.

Armenians claim the word is a corruption of the Armenian term Tolma (grape vine)

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With distance comes greater variance. This theory gets a backing if one looks at the variant of Dolma found in Indian Bengal and Bangladesh (South Asia) which is more than 6000 Km from the epicentre of its origin around Turkey/Armenia.

In Bangladesh and Indian state of Bengal, a vegetable Potol or pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica) is used for stuffing meat, fish or vegetables and is known as dolma or dorma. Local ingredients such as poppy seeds, potato, coconut and raisins have made its way into the stuffing. During the times of the Sultanate rulers of Bengal this dish came to the region with its Turkish name, and got localised customizing to the local availability of vegetable and taste. Even in popular festivals like Durga Puja, Potoler Dolma is firmly a quintessential part of the menu.


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