My Favorite Secret Holiday Recipe #2: "Sarmale" or "Dorma Rolls"

Roxana Anton

My all-time deliciously favorite

Image from Pexels

This is a delicious Romanian second dish, based on meat, rice, vegetables, and many other things.

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pixabay


Maybe the above images will not seem delicious. I never find good images of the recipes I like, because they are almost unknown.

But boy oh boy - this one is incredibly delicious!

True-licious, I would say!

Cooking "sarmale" was an old habit for women to gather together before holidays, weddings, special occasions, and while cooking, they could "catch up" with each other, exchange the latest news, or simply, as we all say, chat.

So, take your courage in both hands (as they say in my country).

If you have more time for cooking and want to try something different than the years before, this one's for you, as it's going to take about 3 hours or more to make, but it will be totally worth it.

The stuffed grape leaves with meat, rice or other ingredients can be found in many cuisines around the world, they are delicious and not very difficult to make.

Here you can find the details and more pictures to help you "achieve the goal".


50 raisin (grape) leaves - fresh or conserved in salted water (to buy)

1 kg minced pork (or mixed with beef)

3-4 tablespoons of sunflower oil for hardening onions

100-150 ml tomato juice (or 2 tablespoons tomato paste)

salt to taste

pepper to taste

paprika to taste

1 bunch of green parsley- as much as you please

450-500 ml borscht (or dies from cabbage)

1 lemon (optional)

100-150 ml sour cream

The grape leaves are chosen as tender and rounded as possible to wrap the sarmales more easily. If you have fresh leaves, it is enough to wash them with cold water, cut their stems, and then put them in boiling water for a few seconds. They will change color and soften.

The fat in the meat makes the sarmales more tender and juicy. Sarmales with lean meat, beef or chicken, will come out stronger and thicker.

Prepare the rice, wash it well, and drain it in a sieve. Clean and wash the onion, then finely chop it.

In a pan, mix the onion with the rice and tomato juice (or tomato paste) in a little hot oil, no more than 4-5 minutes, without browning them. Set the pan aside and let the composition cool.

Finely chop the green parsley. In the bowl of minced meat, put (optionally chopped greens) the hardened rice and onion and season with salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste. Mix the ingredients well and leave to cool a little, so that the flavors blend.

Spread the grape leaves on a shredder or a board, with the ribbed side up (so the sarmales will be smooth and beautiful). On each grape leaf, put a spoonful of the composition. Then carefully roll the sarmales, giving them a cylindrical shape, and take care to close their ends well.

Choose a suitable pot and on its bottom put some leaves, unfilled, cut into strips, or whole. Put the stuffed cabbage in the pot and pour borscht (water, lemon juice, or cabbage die) to cover them.

For the sarmales to be immersed in liquid, they can be covered with a saucer to press them. Boil them on low heat for more than 60 minutes (even 120 if necessary). Fill with water if it drops too much.

When the sarmales are ready, serve them on a large plate. Cover them with sour cream.

Put them on the same plate with some hot polenta. This way, you can eat them hot or cold.

Hope this was useful to all of you.

Happy and delicious Holidays, everyone!

This is part of the writing contest #nbholidaycheer

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