How to Cook Stuffed Mussels (Midye Dolma)
Midye Dolma ( Stuffed Mussels ) : A lot of people around the world are looking for trying new foods and recipes these days. Turkey is a country with a long history in offering a variety of foods.
Stuffed mussels or Midye Dolma is a delicious food which is considered as a small snack to be eaten with beer in different seasons and places.
Stuffed dishes have been popular in Mediterranean, Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines for a long time.
These dishes can be different because there are a lot of vegetables and meat to be filled with different ingredients.
Some vegetables which can be filled by different ingredients to make dolma are pepper, eggplant, onion, tomato, zucchini, pointed gourd and cabbage.
The word dolma originates from Turkish word dolmak which means to fill. This type of food has its own fans in Greek, Italian, Indian and Arabic cuisines.
A big variety of sea food dolma is popular in Turkey which is made by different types of sea animals stuffed with a mixture of vegetables, herbs and spices; and one of the most famous ones is Midye Dolma.
History of Midye Dolma
Midye Dolma is a delicious meze and appetizer which can be eaten in every fish restaurant.
There are a lot of herbs and spices in this food which make it an aromatic dish. It can also be found as the most popular beach food especially in Bordum, a city in Turkey.
Surprisingly, Midye Dolma is originated from Mardin, a city in Turkey, which is not situated near the sea.
In 1960s during the economic crisis of Turkey, most residents of Mardin immigrated to other cities such as Istanbul to find more income.
They met Istanbul Armenians in Galata District of Istanbul and learned how to cook stuffed mussels and then this food was transferred to all over Turkey.
Ingredients to Make Stuffed Mussels
It is interesting to make this delicious food at home. The following ingredients are needed to make Midye Dolma for 8 servings:
• 1 cup cracked rice
• 24 fresh mussels with shells (beards removed)
• Half cup olive oil
• Half cup pine nuts
• 3 chopped medium onions
• 2 crushed cloves of garlic
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• Half cup currants
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 grated tomato
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• Half teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 cup hot water
• Enough amount of salt
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
• 2 sprigs chopped parsley (to garnish)
• 2 lemons (cut into wedges to serve)
You can simply buy cracked rice from Indian or Pakistani food stores. There is not a must, but black mussels are usually used to make this food. Also, you can use raisins instead of currants to make Midye Dolma.
Recipe of Midye Dolma
Cooking Midye Dolma needs a lot of effort and you can order it in a Turkish restaurant or as a street food, also you can cook it at home with this simple recipe:
o Soak currants (or raisins) in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes, and drain them
o Rinse water with cold water and drain it
• Making stuffing (which can also be done in a day in advance to blend flavors)
o Heat olive oil in a pan
o Add chopped onions and stir for 3 minutes
o Add rice, currants (or raisins), grated tomato, tomato paste, spices and salt
o Add hot water to the ingredients and mix them well
o Wait till it starts boiling, then cover it
o Cook ingredients for 15 minutes with low heat until the water is absorbed
o Put the pan aside to be cool
o Add chopped dill and parsley
o Add enough amount of salt and pepper if necessary
• Preparing the mussels
o Rinse mussels with cold water
o Wash the shells to be clean and without dirt
o Open two sides of the shell with a knife or soak them in warm water. Try not to disconnect to halves.
• Preparing the stuffed mussels
o Put two teaspoons of stuffing in the middle of each mussel and push the halves together
o Put mussels on a wide pan in a layered format in order not to be open
o Add water, and cover the pan to be in the boiling level
o Cook them in a low temperature for 15 minutes
o Take the pan away to be cool in the room’s temperature
o Cover and keep mussels in the fridge for half an hour
o Serve them in a big dish with lemon wedges around it
The steps to make this Turkish treat may seem long and complicated for cooking this food for the first time; but when you start cooking, you will understand it is a simple task which can be easily done by a little concentration to follow the steps.
Besides, next times you will cook this food by heart without a look at the recipe.
Tips to Make a Delicious Stuffed Mussel
Each serving of this food has the following nutrition information:
• Calories: 451 kcal
• Protein: 8 gr
• Carbohydrates: 100 gr
• Fiber: 4 gr
• Salt: 4 mg
• Fat: 1 gr
• Sugar: 0 gr
• Saturated fat: 0 gr
You can eat this delicious food with your hands, and add a squeeze of lemon over the mussel with aromatic ingredients.
If you consider cooking this food as an easy task, eating Midye Dolma is not simple, especially if it is your first time.
First, you should take off the top shell, and then squeeze lemon on the stuffed mixture.
Second, consider the shell as a scoop to spoon the stuffed ingredients to get into your mouth. It is advisable to eat this food with cold beer which is the best option for hot summers in Turkey.
There are some suggestions related to this food:
Firstly, if you cook the stuffing ingredients a day sooner and put them covered in the fridge, the flavors will be settled and they blend well with each other.
Secondly, using more onions can help currants (or raisins); pine nuts, herbs and spices mix well and have a great taste.
Thirdly, it is recommendable not to overfill the mussels with rice because rice needs some space while being cooked.