Delectable Balkan Sarma: Savory Cabbage Rolls Bursting with Flavor

Balkan Sarma

5/5 - (5 votes)

Embark on a culinary adventure to the Balkans with this exquisite Sarma recipe. Delicate cabbage leaves filled with a tantalizing blend of meat and rice will transport you to the heart of Balkan cuisine.

Brace yourself for a taste experience like no other with Balkan Sarma. Hailing from the Balkan region, this beloved dish boasts tender cabbage leaves lovingly wrapped around a savory mixture of ground meat and rice, seasoned to perfection. Slowly simmered to allow the flavors to meld, each bite reveals a burst of Balkan essence. Whether enjoyed as a comforting weeknight meal or as a centerpiece for festive gatherings, Sarma offers a taste of Balkan tradition and culinary artistry.


  • 1 large cabbage head
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • ½ cup uncooked rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups sauerkraut (optional, for added tanginess)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • Water, as needed
  • Sour cream, for serving


  1. Core the cabbage head and carefully remove the leaves, ensuring they remain intact. Blanch the leaves in boiling water for a few minutes until pliable. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef or lamb, uncooked rice, chopped onion, minced garlic, paprika, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly until well combined.
  3. Take one cabbage leaf at a time and place a spoonful of the meat mixture in the center. Roll the leaf tightly, tucking in the sides as you go. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
  4. Place a layer of sauerkraut at the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven to enhance the flavor (optional). Arrange the cabbage rolls, seam side down, on top of the sauerkraut.
  5. Pour the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes over the cabbage rolls, ensuring they are fully covered. Add enough water to submerge the rolls.
  6. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours, or until the cabbage rolls are tender and the flavors have melded together.
  7. Serve the Sarma hot, accompanied by a dollop of sour cream. The rich flavors and comforting aroma will make each bite a delightful experience.
Balkan Sarma

The aroma of Balkan Sarma

As the aroma of Balkan Sarma fills your kitchen, indulge in the symphony of flavors packed into each tender cabbage roll. The blend of seasoned meat, fragrant rice, and the earthiness of cabbage will transport you to the cozy kitchens of the Balkans. Share this heartwarming dish with loved ones, create new memories, and bask in the joy of experiencing the rich heritage of Balkan cuisine.

Follow HamiCook on Social Media so you don’t miss any new recipe..

Leave a Reply