Grape Leaves Sarma Recipe
Grape Leaves Sarma
My mom has been cooking this dish for as long as I can remember, most often on the Orthodox Easter holiday. It is certainly a tradition in our family. Sarma means "wrapped thing" and at least in Serbian cuisine, typically contains meat (ground beef), rice, and spices as the filling. The wrap itself can be sour cabbage or grape leaves. When I was younger, I used to pick the grape leaves off and just eat the filling, but it's truly a crime to do so. Grape leaves can be a tad bitter in taste, and adding plain yogurt to the final product is a great way to balance out the flavor. Sarma is easy enough to make; it just takes time and patience!
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1.5 lbs ground beef (or ground turkey)
- 200g brown rice
- 1 16oz jar grape leaves, drained
- salt and pepper, to taste
- paprika, to taste
- 3 tbsp oil
- Chop 1 onion and place in a medium sized skillet with oil. Saute for 20 minutes on medium heat or until onions are golden brown. On the side, wash rice in a small bowl. Also on the side, soak grape leaves in a large bowl of boiled water for 30 minutes to soften the texture.
- Add ground beef (or turkey) to the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt, ground pepper, and paprika to taste.
- Add rice to the skillet and mix ingredients for 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Let mix cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Cut the stems off of the grape leaves and separate the leaves into two groups: small and large.
- Prepare a medium-sized (preferably round) pot for cooking the sarma. Cover the bottom of the pot with 5-6 grape leaves, depending on the size of the pot. Time to start wrapping.
- Pick a larger sized grape leaf and spread it flat onto the palm of your hand. Place a smaller one on top. Add one spoonful of the mix into the center of your palm.
- Start by folding the left side of the leaf to the middle. Then fold the right side of the leaf above the left side. Roll into one small sarma. Place the sarma at the bottom the pot. Repeat this process until all of the mix is used. Cover the entirety the pot with individual rolls before beginning to stack.
- Add water to the pot until the contents are fully submerged. Cover the pot. Boil over medium heat for 1 hour.
- Remove the cover and bake in the oven (375 F) for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.
- Add yogurt (I like Fage 0%) as a sauce, or eat plain.