Friday, July 17, 2009

Sogan Dolma

Stuffed Onions. The moment I imagined how this would taste and smell, my mouth started watering. I love using onions in any dish- its part of the Indian holy trinity of cooking, of course. Isn't it simply ingenious, using the layers of an onion as casings?

I admit- I get confused when searching for recipes online. I don't know if its because I'm a perfectionist or because I've got some form of OCD..... there are so many variations of the same recipe and I want the most authentic one! Just when I zero in on one recipe, I'll find something else equally jaw dropping. Then I'll try to combine the two, or three, or ten thousand. Slowly, a fog descends around my head... and my mind starts questioning it all- should I add this? Or that? What if I don't? Will it still be this if I add that? What is life? Am I me?.......

But for this recipe, I found very few listed in English, .....anyways, the whole key to making this juicy dish is the meat, which I don't eat. So to make it as tasty as possible, I went ahead and Indianized the dish- slathering it with a mix of varied spices and coconut. Its amazing!

Sogan Dolma

Place a pan of water on the stove and add a tbsp of vingear to it. Cut of a small bit of the bottom end of the onion and a larger bit off the top. Peel, wash and place the onions in the pan. There should be enough water to immerse the onions completely. Cook until tender- for me, this took 15 minutes on medium heat.

Fish out the onions and drop them immediately in a bowl of cold water. Allow it to cool.

Press your thumb into the bottom end of the onion and slowly but firmly coax out shell after shell. There might be a little tear, that's ok.

Prepare the filling-
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup crumbled firm cottage cheese/ cooked minced meat for non-veggies
1 tsp chopped ginger
2 tbsp boiled peas, carrots (optional)
chopped coriander leaves, chilli powder, oregano, coriander powder and salt to taste.
Mix all of these together.

Gently stuff these into the onion shells and place on a plate.

Prepare the spicy rich base-

4 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod
1 bay leaf
1/2 a star anise
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 chopped onion

5 tomatoes
2 tbsp grated coconut

In a pan, add a dash of oil. Add all the spices listed up to the cumin seeds.When it begins to splutter, add the onions and cook till they start turning brown. Remove and cool. Blend these ingredients to a coarse paste and keep it aside. Blend the tomatoes and coconut together with a cup of water. Keep aside. In a vessel, add both the pastes. Add salt and chilli powder to taste. Place the filled onion shells in the base, cover and cook on low for 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve on a bed of yogurt or curd rice.


  1. This is a beautiful recipe. O love the helpful photos too. GREG

  2. absolutely beautiful - its beauty like this that makes wanting to taste and try this recipe so tempting - thanks for sharing.

  3. Doggybloggy: Thank you very much :)

  4. I have never had this before, but I love onions, so I'm sure I'd love this!

  5. Definitely a superb dish for onion lovers, Deborah!

  6. We're the same! What's the point of not getting the authentic recipe to start with? (those not in English are usually the key, hehe). It looks delicious!

  7. Thanks! I tried, I really tried with those recipes in varied European languages but Google translator gave me hilarious results, as always :)

  8. This looks wonderful! Paging through your blog brings back memories. I studied in India in the 70's. Loved the food and the people!

    Thank you for visiting my blog!

  9. Delicious Mia!!!!
    I love stuffed onions, but the ones I make seem like kid's play compared to these ones! These looks regal and fancy!
    Thanks for this great recipe!

  10. Kate: Wonderful to have someone who's been to India here :) thanks

    Marta: Thanks, I'd love to see your stuffed onion recipe too. I'm sure its absolutely delicious :)

  11. I have never had stuffed onions. This looks like a very good place to start. I think you had nothing to worry about because yours came out fabulous. I love the idea of the sauce as well.

  12. Thank you Lori. Yes, its really tasty, sauce and all :)

  13. This is interesting how it is an Indian dish :)
    We've it as our traditional Bosnian dish, and it is called Sogan-dolma :)