- 800 g minced pork and beef
- 2 pcs Large eggs
- 150 g Rice
- 12 pcs sauerkraut leaves
- 200 g sauerkraut grated
- 100 g Smoked bacon lardons
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- a pinch Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
Sarma is a traditional dish of Croatian cuisine, widespread in continental and eastern Croatia. Traditionally, it is made from a mixture of minced meat, rice and spices wrapped in sauerkraut.
However, Sarma is one of those traditional dishes that are also present in other national cuisines. In fact, it is very widespread in other national cuisines.
Sarma is considered a traditional dish in Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Poland, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and even Ukraine. Of course, in each of these cuisines there are different variants, and sometimes even different names. In Armenia, Georgia, and even in Turkey it is called dolma.
In fact, Sarma comes from Turkish word sarmak, which means wrapping, while dolma means filling. Hence the names sarma and dolma for similar dishes.
Although the origin of Sarma is not completely clear, it is generally accepted that it comes from Bulgaria. As with many other dishes, the Ottoman Empire was a medium that conveyed it to areas under their rule.
When one takes a closer look at the historical context, it is evident that it was spread over the territory of the former Ottoman Empire.
As we mentioned before, there are several variations of it. Somewhere it is wrapped in vine leaves (Turkey, Greece), somewhere in cabbage leaves. Somewhere is used rice, or bulgur etc.
Croatian origin of Sarma
It is believed that it appeared in Croatia during the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 19th century, it was already a common meal that could be found in many cookbooks of that time.
The Croatian version is always made with sauerkraut leaves. This is an evident influence of Central European and Austrian cuisine. It is also common to combine pork and beef minced with rice and spices such as salt, pepper and paprika. In the Croatian version, it is also necessary to add smoked meat, such as smoked bacon or smoked ribs.
It is interesting that in the southern part of Croatia, more precisely in Cetinska Krajina, there is a dish named the Sinj Arambasici. Actually, it is a Turkish and more traditional version of Sarma. Pork and rice are not used, only beef and oriental spices, such as coriander, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. This dish is on the list of the intangible cultural heritage of the Republic of Croatia.
This Sarma recipe is from my wife’s grandmother and I can tell you that all our friends love this dish. Usually, when we invite them to dinner, they often ask if there will be Sarma.
Detach cabbage leaves from the head. Remove the main root of the leaf and stand in cold water for 10 minutes for the water to draw out salt and acidity. Cut cabbage leaves in half to make it easier to wrap meat.
Cut the smoked bacon into cubes.