Chef's Recipes

Sesame leaf dolmades, almond rice and preserved lemon avgolemono

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for sesame leaf dolmades, almond rice and preserved lemon avgolemono by Alpha restaurant in Sydney.

By Peter Conistis
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Sesame leaf dolmades, almond rice and preserved lemon avgolemono
"Dolmades are quite fiddly to make but well worth the effort. I love the taste difference using the sesame leaves to encase the rice filling, but if you can't source them try using perilla leaves from Asian grocers or vine leaves from Greek delis," says Conistis.


  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50 gm golden shallots (3-4), finely chopped
  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 75 gm short-grain rice
  • ¼ tsp dried mint
  • ¼ cup each dill leaves, mint leaves and flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (loosely packed)
  • 35 gm smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 25 gm currants
  • 25 gm roasted sesame seeds
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 16-20 large sesame leaves, stalks removed (see note)
Preserved lemon avgolemono
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
  • 300 ml vegetable stock, warmed and infused with a pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tsp finely diced preserved lemon rind


  • 1
    Heat half the oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add shallot and spring onion and cook until tender but not coloured (2-4 minutes). Add rice and dried mint and stir for 2 minutes. Add herbs, almonds, currants, sesame seeds and lemon juice and season to taste. Add 300ml hot water, cover with a lid and simmer until par-cooked (5 minutes). Set aside, covered, to cool.
  • 2
    Place a sesame leaf rib-side up on a chopping board, place 2 tsp of rice in the centre, then roll up, folding the sides in as you go, and place join-side down in a saucepan large enough to fit dolmades snugly in a single layer. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Pour remaining oil over, add enough water to just cover, season to taste and weight with a plate. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer until rice is cooked and dolmades are tender (15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for preserved lemon avgolemono, combine egg yolks, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor or blender, season to taste and, with motor running, gradually add oil in a thin, steady stream until all combined. Slowly add the hot stock, then fold in preserved lemon, season to taste and transfer to a bowl. Serve with dolmades.


Note Sesame leaves are available from select Asian grocers.
Drink Suggestion: 2012 Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Amyndeon, Greece. Drink suggestion by Vanessa Chant