How to cook traditional pork cabbage for holidays

How to cook  traditional pork cabbage for holidays

Traditional sarmale

The best stuffed cabbage rolls in Moldovan beef
Preparation time 2 hrs
Cooking time 3 hrs


  • 1 kg of pork, minced
  • 150 g of rice
  • 1 carrot
  • 300 grams of onion
  • Celery root
  • 3 g dried thyme
  • 40 g of salt
  • 4 g pepper
  • Coriander
  • allspice
  • Caraway
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100 g smoked
  • 200 g tomato paste
  • A bunch of dill and parsley
  • 500 ml of tomato juice
  • 1 cane putina bags
  • 50 – 100 vine leaves, lime or cabbage


Serving ingredients:

  • 300 ml cold milk
  • 400 ml of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • Green dill
  • Lemon juice

The Moldovan sarmale recipe is a traditional one in our country, especially on special occasions, such as holidays or anniversaries. You can find sarmale on the Christmas table, Easter, on a birthday or other time of celebration.

Most often, the sarmalutes in beef leaves are made in the summer months, when you can pick fresh beef leaves, the rest being adapted in sarmale in cabbage leaves. They can also be made with frozen or salted leaves, preserved in a jar, as well as for sauerkraut with sauerkraut (also known as Transylvanian cabbage rolls).

The origin of sarmales as we know them, or close to these recipes, is from the Balkans, being consumed in a similar form in Turkey, where they have the name "wire", also found in Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian cuisine. , Hungarian, Syrian, Lebanese, Cypriot or even in the Middle East and Central Europe, where it has other names. For Romanians, putting sarmale with polenta on the table is a kind considered traditional and a reason for pride.

The raw leaves are scalded in salted water until they boil, after which they are removed and rinsed with cold water, in order to keep their color. For sweet cabbage cabbage rolls, the process is relatively similar, helping to loosen the leaves on the back.

A composition of sarmale can differ from housewife to housewife and from one taste to another, because some people will like sarmale with a lot of meat, and others will like those with more rice. It depends on how much rice is put in 1 kg of meat for cabbage rolls, the standard being between 100 and 250 grams, because it will swell and grow, while the meat decreases.

If you are wondering how many sarmales come out of a kg of meat, and this aspect is a subjective one, because it depends on how big the dishes are. For the larger wrapped ones, the number stops at 60 – 80, while some patient people can fold 200 – 300 sarmalute of the same amount.

For the filling, cook the finely chopped onion in oil and at five minutes it is accompanied by the grated carrot and celery prepared in the same way. In another five minutes, the washed rice reaches the pan in at least 2-3 waters, hardening for 3-5 minutes, adding about 100 ml of water to the filling of traditional sarmale to boil and inflate the rice. Remove from the heat and add to a bowl with the meat, greens, spices and tomato paste.

How to cook  traditional pork cabbage for holidays

People who do not want to fry the ingredients for baked sarmale can mix them all, including greens and spices, as well as tomato paste, mixing everything very well with a spoon. For a special taste, smoked meats can be added to the composition, as in smoked sarmale.

Wrap the stuffed cabbage according to your preferences, in vine or cabbage leaf. The most common in Romanian households are sarmale with pork and sauerkraut, because the ingredients are easy to buy in any season.

In a clay or classic pot put some leaves on the bottom, because they can burn and you don't want to spoil the best sarmale with meat. Place the small pieces of leaves filled in a circle on top of the leaves, with the end twisted down, so that they do not fall apart when boiled. You can put the smoke on the first lines to give a better taste to the final result. Repeat the placement in a circle on multiple lines until you finish the sarmalute.

Then pour the tomato juice and fill with water to cover the sarmales. Put a few more leaves and a saucer on top, to ensure even cooking, even when you put the pot of cabbage rolls in the electric oven .

How much the perfect stuffing boils depends on the pot and how to prepare it, in the oven requiring about 3 hours on high heat until it boils, after which it is reduced to medium (170 degrees), adding borscht or other sour ingredient. 40 minutes can be enough in the pan on the stove fire, even for pork sarmale. To make sure they are penetrated, you can check them from time to time.

A sauce for presentation both for Christmas sarmale and for other occasions, consists of fatty cream in which salt is mixed, a little lemon juice and greens (parsley, dill), which can be diluted or left thick. For the sausages made in the pan, you can throw this sauce in which you put the flour towards the end of the preparation, in order to bind and cook well.

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