Cabbage Wrapped with Meat

Recipe 1: Sauerkraut Sarma with Smoked Fish and Nuts


  • 1 head of sauerkraut
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Smoked fish, to taste, chopped
  • 1 cup (8.8 ounces) rice
  • 2 stalks of leek, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 large potato, grated
  • 5.3 ounces ground or chopped walnuts
  • Spices, as desired


  1. Prepare the Filling:
    • Fry the chopped onion and leek in a pan until softened.
    • Add the grated carrot and potato, simmering until the vegetables soften and the liquid evaporates.
    • Soak the rice in water, wash, and strain it, then add it to the pan with the vegetables.
    • Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, and season to taste.
    • Remove from the stove, then add the nuts and chopped smoked fish.
  2. Assemble the Sarma:
    • Remove cabbage leaves from the head of sauerkraut and rinse if they are too salty.
    • Place a portion of the filling on each leaf and roll tightly to form the sarma.
    • Arrange the rolled sarmi in a fireproof or earthen pot.
  3. Bake the Sarma:
    • Arrange additional cabbage leaves on top.
    • Pour water over the sarmi, adding some hot pepper to the water.
    • Bake under a lid at 150°C (300°F) for about 4 hours.
    • Near the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and bake until the top is slightly browned.

Cooking Suggestions

  • Serve the sarma hot with a side of mashed potatoes or bread.
  • The flavors develop better if the sarma is prepared a day in advance and reheated.
  • Adjust the amount of smoked fish and walnuts to your preference for a personalized taste.

Recipe 2: Vegetarian Sarma with Whole Grain Rice and Flakes

Ingredients for Filling

  • 3.5 ounces leek or onion, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 2.8 ounces whole grain rice (or regular rice)
  • 1.4 ounces flake mix (oats, barley, rye)
  • 0.7 ounces soy flakes/crumbs (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground spicy red pepper (can be hot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry vegetable seasoning
  • Salt, to taste

Ingredients for Sarma

  • 10 large leaves of sauerkraut (or 20 small ones)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 small hot peppers
  • Ground allspice, to taste
  • 3 ½ tablespoons oil (50 ml)
  • 2 more sauerkraut leaves for the base and covering of the sarma
  • Water, as needed
  • Smoked red pepper powder, to taste


  1. Prepare the Filling:
    • Fry the chopped leek/onion in oil until soft, then remove from heat.
    • Add washed rice, flakes, soy, and spices. Mix well.
    • Optionally, add a little more oil to the filling for richness.
  2. Assemble the Sarma:
    • Wash the sauerkraut leaves under cold water and remove the thickened part.
    • Divide each leaf into two parts, or leave them whole if they are small.
    • Place a teaspoon of the filling on the leaf, then fold the sarma.
  3. Cook the Sarma:
    • Arrange the folded sarmi in a deeper bowl greased with oil, placing a cabbage leaf at the bottom.
    • Sprinkle red pepper on top, add bay leaves, hot peppers, and cover with a sauerkraut leaf.
    • Drizzle with oil and add enough water to cover the sarmas. Place a plate on top to keep them submerged.
    • Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours.

Cooking Suggestions

  • Serve the vegetarian sarma with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
  • Pair with a fresh green salad for a complete meal.
  • This dish can also be prepared in a slow cooker for convenience.

General Tips for Both Recipes

  • Cabbage Preparation: Rinse the sauerkraut leaves if they are too salty or sour.
  • Rolling Technique: Make sure to roll the sarma tightly to prevent them from unraveling during cooking.
  • Flavor Development: Both recipes benefit from sitting overnight, allowing the flavors to meld.

Enjoy these delicious and comforting cabbage-wrapped dishes, perfect for sharing with family and friends!

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