Dolmadakia with Mrs Irene and Mrs Demie – Kos, Greece

The observation of ingredients and cooking methods are a powerful way to understand the past and revisit moments in time. For her Dolmadakia, Mrs Irene explained the traditional way meat was minced; “people used to use two knives to cut the meat because in the old days the butchers didn’t have the equipment to cut the meat”.

On this occasion, the pork mince had been hand cut by Mrs Irene’s and Mrs Demie’s mother, who had also provided all the vegetables and vine leaves from her garden for the Dolmadakia. “In the olden days they used to keep the vine leaves in salt water and keep them all year – now they are picked and washed and we keep them in the freezer”.

However, long before their mother was growing vegetables in her garden, she was a in Marrickville resident. In 1959, Mrs Irene’s and Mrs Demie’s father moved to Marrickville from Greece, and was soon joined by their mother in 1960. Their parents married and had their first child (Irene) while living in Marrickville. Before the family returned to Greece 6 years later, their father; Mr Papadimitriou owned Hellas Food Market on Marrickville Road.

Below is a rough edit of footage from my last ‘official’ kitchen visit in Kos. There was such a beautiful energy that day, creating Dolmadakia – something extremely tactile, with four other women (led by Mrs Irene). I love the genuine audio in this video, especially the laughing and clinking of plates.



500g Pork Mince

250g Karolina rice – rinsed

Juice of 3 fresh tomatoes

1 onion


Vine leaves – as needed

Juice of 2 lemons

Salt, pepper and cumin to taste

Olive oil


Heat the mince in the pan with a little olive oil

Add onion and parsley, cook together for 15 minutes and then add the rice and tomato juice

Add lemon, pepper, salt and cumin and mix together thoroughly

Fold the mixture into the vine leaves and place in saucepan (refer to video)

Place a plate on top of the Dolmadakia, followed by a stone, press the plate down and fill with water until the Dolmadakia are submerged and add olive oil to taste (This is a special trick Mrs Irene’s mother does)

Simmer on the stove for 30-40 minutes



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