You can buy ready-made dolmas (or dolmades), but they are usually mass-produced and not very good. Making your own takes time and a little patience, but the results justify the trouble, especially if you enjoy jobs that give you time to think or to sit down and talk with a friend. Once you have started, go on and make plenty. Freeze some, so you can astonish people at your next party by offering them these delicious canapés even after a busy week at the office.
The very best dolmas are made with your own fresh vine leaves from the garden, but leaves preserved in brine are perfectly good. As for the stuffing, I have tried many combinations of ingredients, with and without meat, and I give here two of my favourites, both vegetarian. The first is sweet and sour, the second hot and sour with a little Oriental spice.