Sarma actually is an international dish but it's very popular in Macedonia. Of course it's made in a lot of variations: with brine cabbage, fresh cabbage, vine leaves, sorrel (Rumex acetosa) etc. It's small wraps of these leaves filled mainly with rice and grounded meat, or vegetarian (only rice). But a lot of people are using finely chopped smoked meat, ham etc. or they add a little smoked meat into the grounded meat for better taste. The recipe is simple but the cooking is taking a lot of time. But believe me it's worth the effort and time.
1 large head of brined cabbage
1 kg. grounded meat (pork, lamb, beef or any other meat)
300 g. rice
2 medium onions chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of paprika
water, liquid from the brined cabbage or vegetable soup
1 tablespoon vegeta
salt and pepper
First saute the onions on a sunflower oil about 2 minutes. Add the meat and saute until the meat is cooked. Add the rice and cook about 5-10 minutes. Add salt, pepper and vegeta. The rice should be half cooked. Take out the leaves from the cabbage and cut the thick parts from the leaf. Add the filling onto the leaf and wrap it while you tuck in the ends of the leaf. Cut the thick parts from the leaves and all the leaves that have left. First add the cutted cabbage leaves then the sarmas, than again cabbage then sarmas until all is gone (you should finish with cutted leaves) into a deep pot. When you're putting the sarmas try to put it as much closer to one another so that they won't unwrap. Add the water, liquid from the brined cabbage or vegetable soup until the sarmas are covered. Add little salt and pepper. Now, if you're baking it, close the pot with lid than bake it for 2 hours at 350 C. If you're cooking it onto stove, close the pot with plate and onto the plate place something heavy (at my home we're having a river rock which is used only for that purpose). If you don't do this there's a chance that the sarmas will unwrap when it comes to a boil. Cook it for about 2 hours. After 2 hours take out the pot and remove the lid or the plate. In a pan add about 80 gr. oil then fry the flour until golden. Than add the paprika. Add this into the sarmas, than cook it (open pot this time) for about 5 minutes. Try it and you'll see that it's worth the effort.