Food from the World: Sarmale

Traveling and food are two things that we cannot live without. Going abroad,discovering the immense range of opportunities offered by this huge world is a must for all those who want to explore and enrich their personalities. And what better way to do it than to travel around and taste amazing pallets of flavors?

In today’s episode we are dealing with a type of  food called ‘Sarmale’. And we don’t mean to say that they are delicious but if you’ve never tried them you’ve lived for nothing!

History

Very popular in the Eastern European cuisine, ‘sarma’ has Turkish origins and means ‘wrapped thing.’ In fact this is the process that contributes to its preparation. The most popular versions of this dish are made with grape, cabbage and sometimes chard leaves. These are used to roll a mixture made out of minced meat, rice, onions and spices. The result is boiled for several hours in large clay pot. After cooking they can be served together with sour cream, hot pepper, polenta or smoked meat.

Sarmale-recipe
Photo source: retete-mancare.com

 

Taking into account that this type of dish is quite heavy for the stomach, most people serve it at their Christmas meals but also include them in the wedding or funeral menu. In each case, one must have the right energy to party or mourn and the ‘sarmale’  can surely guarantee that.

But I don’t want to keep you boiling for much longer. Find the recipe below and try it at home. It might not be a first successful attempt but I am sure you will get the hang of it.

Sarmale Recipe

Sarmale Ingredients

2 or 3 lbs ground meat (pork, beef, etc.)
parsley
1/2 rice
1-2 chopped onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large sour cabbage
1 l tomato juice
salt, pepper
dill
10-15 slices of bacon

How to prepare it?

1. Start by frying the chopped onions in some oil until they become tender. Add the rice and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add the onion and rice combination to the ground meat. Put salt, pepper, dill and parsley and mix everything well with your hands (for the ‘clean obsessed kitchen experts’) your hands are your best assets in this situation. As long as they have been washed properly, obviously.

Now embrace yourself. It’s time to roll those SOBs. And it’s not going to be easy, I must warn you!

sarmale
Photo source: pomello.ro

2. Remove all the leaves from the cabbage and cut them in half. This is a good tip unless you want to eat giant ‘sarmale.’ For each leave add a big tablespoon of meat mixture and start rolling. If you are interested in the aspect, try to roll them with care and patience. If not, start packing the leaves randomly. Either way, the taste will be magnificent.

Then put the rolls into a big pot and add the tomato juice over them. If you need, add more water in order to ensure that the rolls have enough water to boil.  Cover the pot with aluminum foil or a transparent lid and bake it at 375 degrees for 3-4 hours (depending on the meat). Check it from time to time to see how they are cooking.

Serve them with sour cream and polenta. They will take you to heaven!

Have you ever tasted ‘sarmale?’

Don’t forget to check our Talking Food with a Sprinkle of Wit post!

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