Still Winter, Spring Air


Cabbage Rolls with Meat and Rice

Before it starts to get too hot, I wanted to cook Sarma.

Sarma is a characteristic dish of all Eastern Europe.

There is no a single recipe for Sarma: there is one for every family.


One day, at a meeting composed entirely by women, someone began to talk about Sarma, and each of the participants had its own way of proceeding, and believed it was the right one and universal. They almost went to blows.

And so we can say there is a plate, called Sarma, with meat wrapped in cabbage leaves. And this is the only invariant that puts all agree. (But only here, along the River Drava. Elsewhere also use grape and monk's rhubarb).


I would suggest this version, that of my aunt Zdenka, which ever is the one I like best.

And so I took a cooking lesson from my aunt. 

It was an unforgettable experience, I also cut a finger with one of her sharp knives!


My grandmother put the cabbage in salted water in a barrel. To prevent them from floating in the brine she put above all a big heavy rock. And the cabbage remained all the winter in this water, ready to use. 

The only winter vegetables were sour cabbage and pickled vegetables (peppers, red beets and cucumbers).


(10 people)

1 jar of sauerkraut already cut

1 whole sour cabbage

600 g ground pork

400 g ground beef

200 g smoked pork ribs

150 g bacon

a large onion, chopped

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 egg

125 g rice

500 ml tomato sauce

sweet paprika

2 tablespoons flour


salt and pepper


Mix ground meat with chopped garlic and onion. Add 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika, salt, pepper, 1 egg, rice and mix with hands. 


Cut the hard central part of the cabbage. Take the leaves one by one and form the rolls. I will soon take a video of this operation. For now I will try to make a drawing.

Cut the remaining cabbage into thin strips.


Fry oil and flour in a large pot. Then add a tablespoon of sweet paprika, salt, pepper, water and some of the smoked pork ribs. Add the cabbage cut into thin strips and lay the rolls.

Add the ribs and the bacon remained, the jar of sauerkraut, and add water to cover the rolls. Wait for the boil. 

Then add the tomato sauce and cook with lid two and a half hours on low heat.

Serve with mashed potatoes. 

How to roll Sarma

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Commenti: 2
  • #1

    horace (lunedì, 07 agosto 2017 15:42)

    It looks like a very difficult dish to realise...
    I would also like to have an aunt who cooks me it.

  • #2

    Vania Zemunic (lunedì, 18 settembre 2017 21:19)

    Thank you Horace. Yes, it's not very easy, but when you've cooked it, you can keep eating it for days!