Sarma, A Mediterranean Style Recipe
Servings: (10 servings)
Prep: 1 hour or more depends on your speed
This is not an easy dish to make. If you are depressed and thinking to hurt yourself, just forget it. Make sarma instead. Taking antidepressant, sitting at home like a bag of potatoes does not cure everything always.
There are countless good things, simple happiness in the life. How about spending time in the kitchen and having fun? Some delicious recipes takes long time to prepare. By the time you finished making the sarma, you would forget about all bad thoughts. You will be tired and hungry anyway.
There is no doubt that you will ruin at least first ten attempt of rolling. Start cussing. It is good for you. When I cuss I use at least five different languages. I like diversity. My favorite saying is solid excretory product evacuated from the bowel; namely ‘Shit’, ‘Mierda’, ‘Scheiße’ , ‘σκατά and ‘Bok’ . Say it out loud. It is quite relaxing. It takes all your anger away from you. Please do not tell me women should not cuss. It is a shame. Do not forget a well behaved women do not make history too! Maybe you are not planning making a history, but at least you can relax, enjoy loosing up when you are cooking. Remember good food comes with a high price tag or a lot of cussing.
Cooking ‘sarma’ will take at least an hour of your time and you will consume a full plate of it in only 3 minutes. Good things do not come easy, learn to make sarma, appreciate the real taste of it. But if you are not good with cooking, you can always go to a Turkish, Greek, Persian, or Lebanese restaurant order a plate. You might think a chef from one of those country cooked it. Well, not necessarily, it could be a Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese person would be doing it, ( without having any idea of this food ) you never know!
1 medium size onion
1 cup rice ( basmati )
1 jar grape leaves ( Like Orlando California Grapes Leaves Net Wt 16 Oz)
1 cup chopped marinated red pepper ( or a small jar )
1 cup Tomato & Green Chilies, Diced, ( or 10 ounce can )
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp chives
1/4 cup fresh dill
1/2 tbsp dried mint
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup sliced fresh basil
For cooking rice 2 cups water
For cooking ‘sarma’ 4 cups hot water
You can use fresh grape leave or cabbage leaves too. You should parboil the fresh grape leaves for 3 – 5 minutes before making sarma.
If you are lucky person who live nearby a grape yard, or a vinery, collect some fresh leaves there. My mom had grape vines on her summer house garden. She often collected grape leaves and made sarma. I used to help her when she was rolling the leaves. We used to race who will make more and quicker. I was the winner most the time, but she made fun of my sarma always. Because my stuffed grape leaves had in her terms ‘wings’ on both sides. Which meant sarma roll was not neatly folded inside.
How to make SARMA vegan dish?
In a large size frying pan put olive oil and fried the onion. Add parsley, chives, dill, basil and tomatoes. Stir together in low heat. Then add all seasonings and rice. Pour 2 cups of water. Cook in low heat until rice is a little crunchy.
Then prepare the grape leaves for folding.
How to Stuff and Roll Grape Leaves “Sarma”?
First lay the grape leaf on a flat surface. Remove the stem from the leaf. Be careful by using a sharp knife, while trimming the stem, do not damage the leaf. The leaf has a smooth side and a side with bumpy veins. Put the smooth side down. When you fold the sarma, it will look smooth and shiny. Put one tablespoon of filling mixture on the leaf. Don’t overfill the packets. Take the edges of the leaf closest to you and fold them over the rice. Then fold the sides on top. Now roll forward to make a little package. Make sure rice stays inside.
Bottom of a large deep pan put some extra grape leaves. This will prevent the stuffed vine leaves sticking to the bottom of the pan. When you finished all rolled sarma, put them into the pot neatly. Place all the rolled grape leaves in the pan with the seam side down. You should pack them tightly together in circles. Make sure arrange them well, without a space around it. So they support each other.
If there is a space around them, rice will explode, so you will end up eating pilaf with grape leaves rather than sarma.
Add boiled water on the sarma, cook in low heat about 20-25 minutes.
When I was making the sarma, I also made cabbage rolls. I cooked them together. You can serve this as side dish with yoghurt like most Turks do! If you do not want to eat all of it, ( you should not, unless you want to be fat ) you can store it in a refrigerator for a couple days. Keep inside an air tight container. You can serve as appetizer hot or cold later.
lahana sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls)
yaprak sarma (stuffed grape leaves)