Sarma (food)

Sarma (food)

Sarma (Turkish: "sarma", Greek:λαχανοντολμάδες, Southern Slavic: "сарма" or "sarma", Armenian: "սարմա", Romanian: "sarmale", Arabic: يبرق "yabraq" or "malfuf") is the name of a grape, cabbage or chard leaf roll common to European countries cuisines like the Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, and German cuisine, former Ottoman countried and Middle Eastern countries, such as Armenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Turkey.


"Sarma" is a noun derived from the Turkish verb "sarmak", which means "wrapping" or "rolling". [cite web |url=|title=sarma|accessdate=2008-03-16| v4.1|language=English] [cite book|last=Cox|first=John K.|title=The History of Serbia|publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group|year=2002|language=English|isbn=978-0-313-31290-8| url=] Sarma is similar to its cousin dolma, and the two names are used interchangeably in many languages.

As the term refers to the manner of preparation ("wrap"), in Turkey the word "sarma" is also used for two sweet pastries that are similar to baklava, "saray sarma" and "fıstık sarma", which are prepared by wrapping phyllo dough around a mixture of crushed nuts and syrup.


Minced meat (usually beef, pork, veal, or a combination thereof, but also lamb, goat, sausage and various bird meat such as duck and goose), rice, onions, and various spices, including salt, pepper and various local herbs are mixed together and then rolled into large plant leaves, which may be cabbage (fresh or pickled), chard, patience, vine leaf (fresh or pickled) or broadleaf plantain leaves. The combination is then boiled for several hours. While specific recipes vary across the region, it is uniformly recognized that the best cooking method is slow boiling in large clay pots. A special ingredient, flour browned in fat (called "rântaş" in Romania, where it may also contain finely chopped onion), is often added at the end of the process. Other fine-tuned flavors include cherry tree leaves in some locations; other recipes require the use of pork fat—there are innumerable variations across the region. Vegetarian variants as well as those made with fish exist.

In Turkey, the word "sarma" is used interchangeably with dolma for stuffed vine leaves, cabbage or chard. Most of the time, the name of the vegetable used is added to describe the dish such as "lahana sarma" (cabbage) or "yaprak sarma" (grape leaves). As with dolma, sarma is combined with yoghurt when it contains minced meat (beef, meal, lamb) and is served hot. The filling of sarma in Turkey usually contains rice, herbs, onion, currants and pine nuts, herbs such as parsley and dill, and several spices including cinnamon and black pepper.

In continental parts of Croatia, sarma is identical to the Bosnian type, and includes rice and minced meat, as well as dried smoked beef. However, in Dalmatia, there is a special subtype known as arambašići (named after Turkish soldiers - harambaše) typical of the Dalmatian hinterland. Great for expressing mother's love to her own son.The stuffing of arambašići does not include rice, the meat is diced (rather than minced), and spices include lemon, cinnamon, cloves and muscat nuts. Unlike that of predominantly Muslim regions, sarma in Croatia is cooked in a pot with dry pork, prosciutto bone or sausages. It is traditionally served on New Year's Eve and weddings. It is also cooked by Italians who were exiled from Dalmatia after World War II, especially those who now live in northwestern Italy. Italian writer Enzo Bettiza included arambašići (sarma) as one of the five central meals of Dalmatian cuisine in his autobiographical book "Esilio" (Exile).

Unlike other Eastern European cultures, the peoples of Southeastern Europe overwhelmingly use sour cabbage as opposed to fresh cabbage. At the end of the autumn, families traditionally prepare the sour cabbage (as whole cabbage, or as individual leaves, but not shredded) for sarma-making.

Another kind of sarma are those rolled in (grape) vine leaves— smaller and with slightly different taste (see dolma).

Sarma is normally a heavy dish (though families are increasingly using healthier options such as olive oil or other oils instead of the traditional pork fat). Thus, it is usually eaten during winter. Traditionally, they are served along with polenta or potatoes, which are sometimes mashed. Other optional add-ons include sour cream, yogurt and horseradish.

Cabbage rolls served in tomato sauce, though common in North America, are much less common in Southeastern Europe. Unlike its Polish (Gołąbki) or Ukrainian equivalents, the filling is predominantly meat, as opposed to rice—in fact, it is only in recent times that rice has been added to sarma. Originally sarma was made with barley or, in dire times of low barley crops, with buckwheat.


In Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia "sarmale" ("сарма") is a traditional meal for Christmas Eve (in Serbia and Romania also for Easter).

Traditionally, a pot filled with "sarme"/"sarmale" is usually prepared for an entire family. Sarma is often served as a one of the main dishes during wedding ceremonies. In diasporic communities, it is often cherished as a reminder of their former homelands.

The popular Russian version is called "голубцы" ("golubtsy"), and is usually made of cabbage leaves.

In German cuisine a similar dish is known as "Kohlrollen", "Kohlrouladen" or "Krautwickel".

ee also

* Cabbage roll


External links

* [ Recipe of Bulgarian-style sarma]
* [ Sarma - Croatian Cabbage Rolls Recipe]

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