Dinner | Lunch | Main Dishes | Meat

Turkish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls “Lahana Sarması”

Let’s make spicy, Turkish-style stuffed cabbage rolls “Lahana sarması.” Stuffed cabbage rolls are a popular and traditional dish in Turkey.

We have different recipes but mostly have two varieties, one with ground meat and a vegan version without meat (as an olive oil dish). In this episode, I will make it with ground beef and spices. And with extra tomato garlic sauce, it is a perfect dish for cold winter.

Stuffed Turkish style cabbage and grape leave rolls

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INGREDIENTS FOR TURKISH STYLE CABBAGE ROLLS

Ingredients:

  • 1+1/2 cups + 1-2 mix of bulgur wheat and rice (you can use only rice if you like) – I said 1+1/2 cup each in the video sorry, it is a total of little more than 1+1/2 cups
  • 2 onions, 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp each tomato and red pepper paste
  • 1 tsp each salt, paprika, black pepper, all-spice
  • a big handful of parsley
  • 250gr. ground meat
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 medium-size soft cabbage (suitable for rolls, choose with thin soft leaves) pickled grape leaves (optional)
  • For the tomato sauce:
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato paste
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • about 2 cups or more hot water (add until it reached the beginning of the top layer.
Boiling the cabbage leaves

Instructions:

First precook the cabbage leaves

In Turkey we have two different cabbage in the market. One for pickling and one for staffing, rolling. The one for rolling is more green and the leaves are soft. So try to choose softer ones to make cabbage rolls.

I would recommend you to have pickled grape leaves at hand. It is very handy when making dolma, sarma (rolls). Because you usually end up having stuffing left 🙂 The fragrance of the grape leaves also makes the dish even more delicious.

  • Take out the outer 1-2 leaves of the cabbage. carve the bottom of the cabbage to take out the leaves easily.
  • Boil about 2-3 liter of water in a big pan. Take out the leaves 1-2 at a time and boil until it soft enough to roll for about 2-3 minutes. Time can change depending on the leaves. Don’t overcook or you will not be able to roll it.
  • Drain the cooked leaves and continue to boil other leaves. Set aside.
Filling for “Turkish Cabbage Rolls”
Prepare the stuffing
  • Dice onions finely, chop parsley leaves, finely chop garlic. Add everything into a big bowl along with washed and drained bulgur wheat and rice, tomato and red pepper paste, salt, and spices.
  • Drizzle about 3-4 tbsp. olive oil and 1/3 cup water and mix everything well with your hand.
Stuffing and rolling the cabbage leaves.
Rolling The Cabbage leaves and Cooking
  • Cut the cooked and cooled cabbage leaves into reasonable sizes that you can roll. The veins of the leaves are important while rolling. You have added the filling along with the veins so you can roll it better and it looks more even this way. For more details make sure to watch the video.
  • It is always better to have only enough leaves to cover the stuffing for two layers most. Otherwise it becomes too thick and not very enjoyable to eat 🙂 ;You can cut the excess leave part and place under the pan.
  • Stuck the rolled cabbages (sarmas) into a widest pan. Using wide pan will help for even cooking. Also if you are using grape leaves plaec them on the top layer since they will be easier to cook if your leaves thin enough.
The Tomato Sauce

In a medium-size pan add 4-5 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste for 1-2 minutes. Add crushed garlic, stir for 10 seconds or more. Add 2 cups of hot water.

Pour the sauce over the sarma (Lahana Sarması) and cook on low heat for at least 45-50 minutes or until the filling and leaves are soft. Check from time to time if there is no water left and dolmas need to cook more, add more hot water little by little each time. At the end of the cooking, there shouldn’t be much juice left in the pan. Only as a thick sauce and to re-heat.

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Turkish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Ayşenur Altan
Let’s make spicy, Turkish-style stuffed cabbage rolls “Lahana sarması.” Stuffed cabbage rolls are a popular and traditional dish in Turkey. We have different recipes but mostly have two varieties, one with ground meat and a vegan version without meat (as an olive oil dish). In this episode, I will make it with ground beef and spices. And with extra tomato garlic sauce, it is a perfect dish for cold winter.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle east, Turkish
Servings 6

Equipment

  • ladle
  • wide big pot with lid

Ingredients
  

  • 1 +1/2 cups + 1-2 mix of bulgur wheat and rice you can use only rice if you like – I said 1+1/2 cup each in the video sorry, it is a total of little more than 1+1/2 cups
  • 2 onions 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp each tomato and red pepper paste
  • 1 tsp salt, paprika, black pepper, all-spice
  • handful of parsley flat leaf
  • 250 gr. ground meat
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 medium-size soft cabbage suitable for rolls, choose with thin soft leaves pickled grape leaves (optional)

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 heaped tsp tomato paste
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • about 2 cups or more hot water (add until it reached the beginning of the top layer.

Instructions
 

Instructions:

  • First precook the cabbage leaves
  • In Turkey we have two different cabbage in the market. One for pickling and one for staffing, rolling. The one for rolling is more green and the leaves are soft. So try to choose softer ones to make cabbage rolls.
  • I would recommend you to have pickled grape leaves at hand. It is very handy when making dolma, sarma (rolls). Because you usually end up having stuffing left 🙂 The fragrance of the grape leaves also makes the dish even more delicious.
  • Take out the outer 1-2 leaves of the cabbage. carve the bottom of the cabbage to take out the leaves easily.
  • Boil about 2-3 liter of water in a big pan. Take out the leaves 1-2 at a time and boil until it soft enough to roll for about 2-3 minutes. Time can change depending on the leaves. Don’t overcook or you will not be able to roll it.
  • Drain the cooked leaves and continue to boil other leaves. Set aside.

Filling for “Turkish Cabbage Rolls”

    Prepare the stuffing

    • Dice onions finely, chop parsley leaves, finely chop garlic. Add everything into a big bowl along with washed and drained bulgur wheat and rice, tomato and red pepper paste, salt, and spices.
    • Drizzle about 3-4 tbsp. olive oil and 1/3 cup water and mix everything well with your hand.

    Rolling The Cabbage leaves and Cooking

    • Cut the cooked and cooled cabbage leaves into reasonable sizes that you can roll. The veins of the leaves are important while rolling. You have added the filling along with the veins so you can roll it better and it looks more even this way. For more details make sure to watch the video.
    • It is always better to have only enough leaves to cover the stuffing for two layers most. Otherwise it becomes too thick and not very enjoyable to eat 🙂 ;You can cut the excess leave part and place under the pan.
    • Stuck the rolled cabbages (sarmas) into a widest pan. Using wide pan will help for even cooking. Also if you are using grape leaves plaec them on the top layer since they will be easier to cook if your leaves thin enough.

    The Tomato Sauce

    • In a medium-size pan add 4-5 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste for 1-2 minutes. Add crushed garlic, stir for 10 seconds or more. Add 2 cups of hot water.
    • Pour the sauce over the sarma (Lahana Sarması) and cook on low heat for at least 45-50 minutes or until the filling and leaves are soft. Check from time to time if there is no water left and dolmas need to cook more, add more hot water little by little each time. At the end of the cooking, there shouldn’t be much juice left in the pan. Only as a thick sauce and to re-heat.

    Video

    Keyword cabbage rolls, rolled cabbage, stuffed cabbage, turkish cabbage sarma, turkish dolma

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