Sarma, Balkan winter comfort food. Although there’s a loud discussion which is the original recipe and who makes the best sarma (almost as a national sport) I’d say as many cooks as many sarma recipes. We took the form of stuffed rolled leaves from the Ottomans and then adapted them to our palate.

Ingredients for 12 medium sized sarmas:

  • 650 g of minced meat: 550 g pork + 100 g beef
  • 100 g of bacon
  • 1 whole sour cabbage
  • 100 g of rice
  • 1 onion + 1 clove of garlic
  • salt, pepper
  • pair of sausages
  • sweet red paprika, tomato paste


  1. Tear off 12 medium sized cabbage leaves (from the middle of the cabbage) and cut out the hard root part. Rinse if it seems too sour.
  2. Chop up the onion and garlic along with bacon. Fry the onions until translucent then add the garlic, fry for a minute and take off the heat. Add to the meat along with bacon, rice 10 g of salt and 3 g of black pepper. Mix well and season to taste.
  3. Divide the mixture into 12 balls each weighing around 75g. Shape the meat into little flat rollers and place slightly under the middle of the leaf. Close both sides over the meat and then roll from the root up to the top of the leaf.
  4. Slice the rest of the cabbage into thin strips. Put the third of the cabage on the bottom of the pot. Place 6 sarmas on that so that they’re snug but not too tight. Cover with another third of the cabbage, then put the 6 other sarmas on that. Cover everything with the rest of the cabbage. Add the quartered sausages in between the cabbage layers.
  5. Addwater so it covers the sarmas, about 2 fingers above the sarma level. Add 1 table spoon of red paprika and 1 of tomato paste.
  6. Cook for 2 hours (when it starts boiling reduce to a simmer).
  7. Serve with bread, mashed potatoes or whatever you fancy.


T 🙂


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