In most Balkan countries Sarma has become a traditional dish, so indigenous that many consider the product specifically to be their national cuisine (i.e. Slavic) however truth to be told, Sarma is a traditional Turkish dish as far as it origins go. It is made of sauerkraut and minced meat, and that mixture of meat, rice and onions folded into a cabbage leaf. Sarma can also be made with grape leaves and the like. If you visit Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria or any other Balkan country during winter you are bound to try this dish out, everyone loves it there!
- 2 bowls of sauerkraut
- 800 grams of minced meat
- 1 kg of dried meat of your choice
- 300 g bacon
- 1/2 cup of rice
- 2 onions
- Cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper
How to make Sarma – recipe
It is very important how you choose the cabbage. Cabbage should not be hard with a big vessels and leathery leaves. Cabbage leaves should be soft and of beautiful yellow color.
Separate cabbage’s leaves and remove the thickened part of the middle leaf veins. Separate leaves only large enough for rolling into a sarma. The rest of the cabbage head can be cut into strips, and placed into the bottom of the pot or pan in which the sarma is to be cooked. Leave a few large leaves to eventually cover the sarma with. Try the cabbage. If it is too salty or too acidic, wash the leaves under cold running water.
When you have prepared the cabbage leaves, move on to the stuffing:
- Cut the onion finely.
- Take half of the the bacon and chop it into cubes.
- Wash the rice several times in water.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the onion in it. When the onion is nicely brown, put in the minced meat. Generally, a mixture of beef and pork and in the ratio of 2: 1 is used. You can also use just beef but not only pork.
When the meat is half fry add salt and pepper according to your taste, put the cayenne pepper, and finally add the chopped bacon. Stir it all well and remove from the stove
Put a cabbage leaf on your palm, and then place the required amount of filling in the middle of the leaf. Bind the lower part of the leaf (the one that was at the root) onto the above, and then wind the right side of the leaf to the left, slide your fingers under the edge of the stuffing and wrap the roller. At the end push the top edge of the cabbage leaf with your fingers, this makes the sarma closed. They say that the cabbage is well coiled when you throw in the air and it does not fall apart. Still, you do not have to try these things.
Rack up sarma by sarma close to each other until they fill out the bottom. In between put bacon cut into slices (leave the peel on them). And on top of the first row of sarma you can put slices of smoked meat you chose, cut into small pieces, and aged in cold water. Then stack the second row. And finally distribute the remaining bacon and smoked meat. Pour water into the sarma pot so that it covers the last, top row. Now cover all with cabbage leaves.
Put it on the stove, onto high temperature for it to boil. When it does reduce the heat to one-third, cover the pot or pan and simmer the dish for at least 2 to 3 hours. The longer you simmer the dish turns out better. Be sure not to add more water – sarma should not have too much broth, because that’s not the real deal.
Obligatory drink to consume with Sarma is Rakija! Bon appetit! 🙂