posts may contain Amazon affiliate links, which earn me a small commission when you buy (but doesn't cost you anything extra). Occasionally I receive free products and/or run sponsored posts—this will always be stated clearly in the post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

This website contains some quotations, excerpts, and screen clips from copyrighted material. These uses fall well within the copyright doctrine of "Fair Use".
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Turkish Stuffed Tomatoes (Domates Dolmasi) | A Touch of Spice #FoodnFlix

Turkish Stuffed Tomatoes (Domates Dolmasi) | A Touch of Spice #FoodnFlix
Turkish Stuffed Tomatoes (Domates Dolmasi) | A Touch of Spice #FoodnFlix
Our Food 'n Flix pick this month is a feast for the senses from start to finish both literally and figuratively, from the breast to the grave. A Touch of Spice is the story of Fanis, a half Greek, half Turkish boy who spends the first part of his childhood learning about the importance that food and spice hold in everyday life and decisions from his grandfather. But when political turmoil in Constantinople forces his family to move to his father's native Athens in 1964, Fanis desperately misses both his grandfather and his first (young) love.

He spends his life waiting for papu (his grandfather) to come visit him in Athens—mostly in the kitchen. Well, except for a period when his parents banish him from the kitchen, thinking that something is not right with this boy who only wants to spend his time cooking and hanging out with girls.

As a young man, we see that he's still enjoying time in the kitchen...still adding a little spice to people's lives. And still waiting for his papu to come for a visit. 35 years after he arrived in Athens, he finds himself traveling back to the land where he spent his childhood (♪♩ so, take me back to Constantinople. No, you can't go back to Constantinople. Been a long time gone, Oh Constantinople...♩ ♪).

Here he says goodbye to the man that taught him about spice and life through gastronomy and astronomy, and reconnects with that first, long-lost love.

Cumin is a strong spice, it turns people inwards. Cinnamon makes people look each other in the eyes.

Turkish Stuffed Tomatoes (Domates Dolmasi) | A Touch of Spice #FoodnFlix
As I mentioned, this film is laced with beautiful food scenes throughout, making menu options and ideas abound. What I ultimately decided to make to represent A Touch of Spice comes from one of the scenes in which Fanis was forbidden by his parents to enter the kitchen. He becomes a "person in uniform" (aka, a boy scout), and he and his troop go into a brothel to sing to the people.

Like a moth to the flame, Fanis finds his way into the kitchen where the owner of the brothel is stuffing tomatoes and bell peppers, reminiscing about her own man in uniform. As she is working, Fanis asks her if she adds sugar, and she tells him that in the part of Turkey she comes from, they only add cinnamon.

So, I made a version of domates dolmasi, or Turkish stuffed tomatoes, to go along with that scene. I did not add sugar, but I did add cinnamon (sweet and bitter, like all women), and didn't forget the salt (life, it keeps us alive and makes life tastier) and pepper (the sun, it sees everything, and goes with all foods) a nod to Fanis and Papu's "gastronomy and astronomy" lessons.
Turkish Stuffed Tomatoes (Domates Dolmasi) | A Touch of Spice #FoodnFlix
Food 'n Flix club logo
This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla with her pick, A Touch of Spice; submissions are due April 27 (noon PT).

Join us next month as we head into the kitchen with our host Deb of Kahakai Kitchen with her pick, The Princess Bride.

For inspiration, check out the Food 'n Flix website (click on any of the roundups listed to see what participants have been inspired to make by the movie choice), all of my past Food 'n Flix posts, or my Food 'n Flix Pinterest board!

yield: serves 10-12print recipe
Turkish Stuffed Tomatoes (Domates Dolmasi) | A Touch of Spice #FoodnFlix

Turkish Stuffed Tomatoes (Domates Dolmasi)

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 35 MINStotal time: 50 mins
Tender tomatoes stuffed with seasoned rice (and optional meat).


For the rice stuffing:
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 8 ounces ground chicken or lean ground beef (optional, omit for vegan option)
  • 3 large green onions (scallions), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup white rice (medium or long grain)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 vanilla black tea tea bags (recommended: Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • big handful of roughly chopped mixed fresh parsley and mint
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Everything else:
  • 10-12 small, ripe but firm, tomatoes
  • olive oil


Make the rice stuffing:
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. If using meat, add to the pan and cook, breaking it apart, until just done (if omitting meat, proceed to step 2).
  2. Add green onion, garlic, and a big pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until both are tender, ~3 minutes. Add cinnamon and rice and cook, stirring often, until some grains are translucent and starting to turn golden in spots, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add water and tea bags, then season with another big pinch of both salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover (use the lid to secure the tea bag strings), and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 12–15 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat, hold on to the tea bag strings as you lift the lid; press against side and shake to leave all the good stuff in the pan, then discard the tea bags. Use a fork the fluff the rice, then stir in the pine nuts and raisins; cover with a clean kitchen towel and the lid, then let it sit for 10 minutes undisturbed. Stir in the herbs.
Make the stuffed tomatoes:
  1. Cut a "lid" off of each tomato and scoop out the center, taking care not to cut through the bottom of the tomato (I find the easiest way to do this is to use a grapefruit spoon).
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F. Rub the bottom of a shallow baking dish or cast-iron skillet with a thin coat of olive oil.
  3. Pack the rice stuffing into each hollowed out tomato (about a heaping 1/4 cup per tomato), so that it's mounded slightly. Set into a prepared baking dish or skillet. Repeat until all of the tomatoes are stuffed (or the stuffing is gone). Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Slide into hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and may split in a spot or two (but they shouldn't be soggy). Serve and enjoy.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Did you enjoy this? Receive new posts in your inbox!

Click here to sign up for to have new posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Did you make my recipe or try something that I recommended?

I want to hear about it! Please let me know by snapping a photo and sharing it on my Facebook page or upload it and tag me on Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #allroadsleadtothekitchen in the caption (I will only be able to see it if your account is public).

Comment Policy

I love getting comments! If you have a question about a recipe, an article, or a recommendation, please leave a comment below the individual post. I read all of the comments and will make every effort to respond in a timely manner to your questions. Spam will be removed.

Would you like to comment?