In Greece, koupepia are known as dolmades or dolmadakia; they can be found in Turkey and the Middle East as well.
In both Greece and Cyprus, they are made with a filling of ground beef and pork along with rice. The wrapping consists of blanched grape leaves.
The Cypriot version is different in that along with the ingredients above, it is traditionally served in a sauce containing cinnamon and tomatoes. The Greek version is typically served in an avgolemono sauce, which is made with eggs and lemon.
There is a vegetarian version that is made without the meat; that is the version usually served at Lent.
While koupepia most likely originated in the Middle East, it was brought to Cyprus by Greeks who immigrated around 1200 BC.
Koupepia are typically made in large batches; they can be frozen and then cooked later. They are often served as a part of a meze platter or at buffets.
Koupepia make excellent finger food and can be found at most celebrations and other social events.
- 50 vine leaves
- 100-150 grams minced pork
- 3 quarters cup olive oil
- 1 small onion minced
- Parsley minced
- 1 quarter tea spoon pepper
- Mint (optional)
- 1 cup rice
- 1 tblsp tomato sauce or 2 cups tomato
- 1 – 2 tblsp lemon juice
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp salt
Wash the vine leaves and put them in warm water to get soft. The color will change and will go darker than they are.
Put the olive oil in a pan to warm and lightly cook the minced onion.
Add the minced ground pork and leave it to lightly cook.
Add the rice, pepper, parsley, mint, tomato sauce mixed with water. Leave them to cook for 3-5 minutes and mix occasionally.
When the mixture cools, put one teaspoon of filling on each vine leave and wrap them up. Be careful as some leaves might be bigger or smaller than others so sometimes you might need to fill them with less or more than one teaspoon.
Put all the koupepias in a 4-quart pot. Place a small plate on top of them to keep them in place and add the water and lemon juice, or chicken stock if preferred.
Let them cook on low heat for about half an hour.
The recipe makes 6 servings.