How to make Sarmale – Romanian Cabbage Rolls

Romanian cabbage rice roll is one of the delicious dishes that Romanian people prepare for family reunion meals and especially holidays. Stuff a mixture of ground meat, rice, and herbs in Cabbage Leaves then cook with tomato juice and some bacon for extra flavor. Traditionally, cabbage rolls are served warm with sour cream and whipped cream

Sarmale - Romanian Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Home Cooking Adventure


Makes about 60-70 cabbage rolls

For preparing the cabbage leaves
2 medium cabbages
1 tbsp (15g) salt
4-5 thyme sprigs
2 fresh dill sprigs
hot boiling water

Meat Filling
4 medium onions (500g), chopped
5 tbsp (70g) vegetable oil
1/4 cup (65g) tomato paste
2 tsp (4g) paprika
1 1/4 cup (250g) long grain rice, rinsed and drained
1 pound (450g) ground pork
1/4 pound (110g) ground beef
1/2 cup (25g) fresh dill, chopped
1 1/2 tsp (7g) salt
1 1/2 tsp (5g) ground black pepper

For cabbage mixture to place in top and bottom of the pot
1/2 tsp (3g) salt
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

For adding on top of the rolls
14 oz (400g) can diced tomatoes
1/2 pound (230g) smoked pork ribs, cut in smaller pieces
Hot salted water

1. Remove core from cabbages. In a large pot bring water to a boil, enough to almost cover the cabbage. Add salt, few thyme and dill sprigs. Immerse cabbage in boiling water with core side down. Cook over medium-high heat 5 to 10 minutes. Turn and gently remove leaves. When the leaves are tender and flexible remove and let them cool.

2. Prepare the filling. In a frying pan heat oil over medium high heat. Cook onion until soft and glossy. Stir in paprika and tomato paste and remove from heat. Let cool slightly. Add rice, ground pork and beef, dill, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.

3. Trim the thick veins from cabbage leaves for easier rolling and set aside. Cut leaves in smaller pieces if too large. Chop any leftover cabbage (middle part) and the veins and place in a bowl. Mix chopped cabbage with dill, salt and pepper. Place few thyme sprigs on the bottom of a large pot, place half of the chopped cabbage and few dill sprigs on top.

4. Start making the cabbage rolls. Place 1/2 to 1 tbsp of mixture on the center of the bottom of each leaf. Fold in the sides and start rolling the cabbage leaf to create a roll.Place on the prepared pot and continue until all the filling is done. Place the other half of chopped cabbage over the top of the rolls.

5. Add diced tomatoes on top, arrange the pork ribs and pour hot salted water until the cabbage rolls are almost covered with liquid.

6. Cover the pot and cook at medium heat until they start to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.

7. Serve cabbage rolls warm with sour cream and polenta.

Add Comment