Friday, January 22, 2010

Sarma ala Nataša (Serbian = Сарма)

Sarma originates from Turkey, however it is common in many other countries that were under the Ottoman Empire, one of them being Serbia, and other former republics of Yugoslavia. The name itself means "wrapping" in Turkish.

Sarma is one of the most common winter Serbian dishes. There is a verity of leaves that can be used for wrapping, such as sour cabbage leaves, collard greens, chard, or grape leaves. Stuffing for sarma rolls is ground meet simmered with onions. Sarmas in Serbia are slow cooked in water and lard and are covered with smoked pork. They are eaten with yogurt and bread. We love our sarmas and eat them for special occasions as well as for every day meals.


1 large red onion, shopped finely

1 lb ground beef

2 cups rice, washed
1 carrot, shredded

20 collard green leaves

salt and pepper

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp paprika

4 tbsp oil



Stew chopped onions for 15 minutes in a little bit of water, add ground beef, rice and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. If needed add more water as rice will absorb most of it. Add shredded carrot and continue to stew for another 20-25 minutes (total time should be about 40-45 minutes).

While the fill is stewing, wash collard greens.

Boil water in a large pot and remove from heat. Place leaves into the hot water and allow to soak for 45 minutes. Then take the leaves out of the water and use the stewed fill to make sarma rolls. Save this water for later use.

Place sarma rolls vertically in a pot and make sure you fill the whole pot so that they don't fall over and unwrap. Use the leftover water from the steaming of the leaves to almost cover sarms rolls in the pot.

Slow cook sarmas on low heat for 3 hours. When the sarmas are done cooking, brown some flower in oil and add a teaspoon of paprika.

Serve with yogurt.

Also see sarma made out of sour cabbage rolls.

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