Sarma Sour Cabbage Recipe

This easy winter recipe is hearty and filling, and the sour cabbage gives it a unique flavor.

By xp5u9
November 17, 2022
Rating: 0.00

If you’re in the mood for a delicious and tangy dish, try this Sarma Sour Cabbage recipe. It’s a traditional Eastern European dish that’s perfect for a winter meal. The sour cabbage is stuffed with a combination of rice, ground beef, and spices, then simmered in a tomato sauce. It’s hearty and satisfying, and sure to please everyone at the table. Give it a try tonight!

Sarma is made with a layered filling of minced meat, rice and spices wrapped in vine or cabbage leaves. The origins of this traditional Balkan dish stem all the way back to the Ottoman Empire. Traditionally it is served during the Christmas period but is eaten all year round. Over the centuries it has become a staple in the Balkan region and many claim that it is the most popular dish in the region. This blog post will look closer at the origins, preparation, and the ingredients that are used to make this delicious dish.

What is Sarma?

Sarma is a traditional Balkan dish which is cooked throughout the Balkan Peninsula. It is made with smoked meat and cabbage leaves, rolled up and cooked in a sauce. This popular traditional Balkan dish is a must-have on every table during New Year’s Eve, Easter, Christmas and other family gatherings. What you may not know is that sarma ingredients vary depending on the region and there is a lot of controversy about its origins.

Sarma Origins?

Sarma is popular under different names and in different shapes in most countries from Southeastern European to the Middle Eastern cuisine. Sarma is part of the broader food category of stuffed dishes known as dolma. In most European countries, sarma is prepared with ground pork, while the traditional Turkish sarma recipe uses ground beef.

Some types of dolma are made with whole vegetables, fruit, offal or seafood, while others are made by wrapping grape, cabbage, or other leaves around the filling. 

Cabbage was a staple food for most Persians and Ottomans pleasants during winter months, and it spread to the Balkans in those days as well. As meat was expensive for the pleasants they mixed rice sometimes with the kosher meat. Basmati rice is most desirable, and the stuffing of the meal may be enhanced using tomatoes, onions and cumin.

Today sarma is popular dish across the globe and can be found in Balkan, Middle Eastern, Southern Caucasian, North African, Persian, Mesopotamian, Israeli, Turkish, and even Central Asian cuisine.

How to Make Sour Cabbage Leaves for Sarma?

Sour Cabbage is a traditional used in many cultures. It is a great way to add flavor to a meal, and can be used as a side dish or as an ingredient in other dishes. Sour Cabbage is made by fermenting cabbage in water, vinegar, and salt. This process creates lactic acid, which gives Sour Cabbage its sour taste. The fermentation process also produces beneficial bacteria, which can help improve gut health.

Sour cabbage leaves are a key ingredient in the traditional dish known as sarma. While you can purchase sour cabbage leaves at many stores, it is also possible to make your own. Making your own sour cabbage leaves is a simple process that only requires a few ingredients and some patience.

Sarma Sour Cabbage Recipe

Sarma Sour Cabbage Recipe

This recipe is perfect for winter! Whether you are looking for a quick and easy appetizer or a hearty main dish, sarma is sure to satisfy.
Servings 8
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes


  • 1 Cutting board
  • 1 Large Bowl
  • 1 Baking dish


  • 1 sour cabbage (head)
  • 2 cups brine from sauerkraut (optional)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ cup rice
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • white onion (finely chopped)
  • ½ tbsp oil (you can replace with butter)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 400 g ground pork
  • 150 g bacon


  • Start with the sauerkraut head by carefully remove the leaves and then remove the rib from each leaf. One head should be enough for 8-10 large sarma and 6-7 small ones.
  • Cook the rice until it is half done then move leave aside. In a deep bowl mix together the group pork, beef, bacon with the finely chopped onion. Then add the two eggs, salt, pepper and mix well.
  • Add the rice to the mixture and stir well till rice mixed.
  • On a flat surface place a leaf and put a full spoon from the mixture. Spread well in the center then roll and fold the ends
  • In a large pot add 2 cups of the brine or you can use water, place a few leaves at the bottom then add the cabbage rolls. You can add bacon between and sliced sauerkraut.
  • Cook it for an hour on a medium heat then transfer it to a baking dish.
  • Preheat the oven to 325℉
  • Place a pan over medium heat with butter. After it melts add flour. A minute later add the paprika and water. Add this sauce to the baking dish and place it in the oven. Bake it for about 2.5-3h.
  • Place the sarma in a plate and leave to cool down. Optional you can add on top some tomato paste and sprinkle fresh herbs.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword: Sarma

If you’re planning on making this sarma sour cabbage recipe at home, there are several tips you should keep in mind. Firstly, ensure that the cabbage leaves are soft enough to roll easily without breaking apart. This can be achieved by boiling them in water for a few minutes before use. Secondly, make sure to season the meat filling well with salt and pepper to enhance its taste. You can also add other spices such as paprika or garlic powder for an extra kick.

Another important tip is to cook sarma slowly over low heat to achieve the best results.

Explore More Sarma Recipes?

Did you make this Sarma sour cabbage recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you this sarma sour cabbage recipe! Leave a comment below and tag @thebalkanrecipes on Instagram and hashtag it #thebalkanrecipes.

Copyright © 2022 The Balkans recipes. Made with by VisibleDev.
Popular Search: