Romania Holiday Cuisine: Sarmale

April 10, 2012 5:18 PM EDT
Romanian post stamps
Romanian post stamps (Photo: Flickr)

Pork is one of the most popular ingredients in Romanian cuisine. It is found in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire from the Middle East to the Balkans and Central Europe.Sarmale (pickled cabbage rolls) is a representative savory dish of Romania. The minced meat is wrapped in cabbage or vine leaves, and served for all major holidays and celebrations, except Easter. You can serve it with polenta and top each plate with sour cream.

Sarmale / Flickr
Sarmale / Flickr

1 cabbage
2 pounds minced meat (pork or beef)
1 slice of bread, shredded
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tbsp rice
2 tbsp of tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
Pinch of dill, mashed

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1. Dip in water the center of the slice of bread; squeeze and mince.
2. Saute the onions until light brown and add the rice. Add 2-3 spoons of water.
3. Add in the meat. Put the dill, salt and pepper to taste. Add another 2-3 spoons of water and cook for a few minutes.
1. Cut the stump of the cabbage; wash the leaves; cut in two (if it's small, you don't need to cut).
2. Wrap the filling with the cabbage leaves.
1. In a pot, place each cabbage roll on the bottom.
2. On top of them, add another layer with all the cabbage rolls.
3. Add water to cover them up. Boil for a few minutes on the stove.
4. Transfer to the oven at 180 degrees F and bake for 2 hours.


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