Yiaprakia, a.k.a Lahanodolmades – Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
Stuffed cabbages are well known throughout the Balkans and as far as the Middle East. In Northern Greece, they are called Yiaprakia but they are commonly known as Lahanodolmades. Unlike the usual dolmades, or koupepia as they are known in Cyprus, they are made with cabbage leaves as opposed to vine leaves. I use Savoy cabbage but white cabbage is just as good.
They can be eaten all year round, even though they are a traditional Christmas dish in Northern Greece, and are quite versatile. The Yiaprakia can be made with meat or just rice. ‘Meatless’ stuffed cabbages are particularly popular during fasting periods for Easter and Christmas.
My version is stuffed with mince meat, onions, rice, tomatoes and parsley. What makes these Lahanodolmades delicious are the spice and herbs that I add. A small amount of dried mint and a hint of cinnamon makes these extra special and full of taste. You can have them as your main meal with a nice greek salad, as a starter or as a side.
We frequently had Koupepia growing up but, once in a while, mum treated us to Lahanodolmades. The tradition carries on!