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A Wonderful and Delicious Recipe for Winter Season: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Lahana Sarması

Stuffed cabbage leaves is a highly preferable Turkish flavour during the cold winter months. The reason why the meal is very popular in the winter season is that it is healthy. Moreover, the winter season is the season for cabbage vegetables.

So, we glad to welcome you to our Turkish table with a new recipe. Once you read our article and learn how to cook stuffed cabbage leaves, we assure that you will love it! With simple ingredients such as ground meat, rice, onion, cabbage leaves, the meal grant you to have a wonderful and healthy flavour. Before start listing ingredients and put forwards the steps, we would like to welcome you to our authentic Turkish table. Or, as we say in Turkish “Hoşgeldiniz!

Stuffed cabbage rolls is very delicious and traditional flavour of Turkish tables.
Stuffed cabbage rolls is a very delicious and traditional flavour of Turkish tables.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls is A Traditional Flavour of Turkish Tables

When you meet a Turk, just ask them if they like this vegetable. Whether they like or not the vegetable, they would definitely have a childhood memory related to this delicious meal. As Turkish people like to have meat at their dining tables, cabbage leaves may sound quite “veggie”. But again, stuffed cabbage rolls is an unforgettable dish of our childhood.

Cooking stuffed cabbage rolls is not as hard as you would think of. Furthermore, once you cook for your guests, it will certainly make them happy. We can see licking your chops already! So, let’s go first with the ingredient!

Stuffed cabbage rolls are especially popular in winter time at Turkish homes.
Stuffed cabbage rolls are especially popular in the wintertime at Turkish homes.

Ingredient of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Lahana Sarması

With the following ingredient, you can serve the meal for 4 people. On the other hand, while preparation time takes you 35-40 min., cooking time is 35-40 min. too.

For the filling, you can see the ingredients at the picture.
For the filling, you can see the ingredients at the picture.

  • 1 medium white cabbage – brings out about 25 leaves
  • 250gr/9oz/generous 1 cup lean ground (minced) lamb or beef
  • 115gr/4oz/1/2 cup long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 15ml/1tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 60ml/4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8fl oz/1 cup hot water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 small bowl of natural (plain) yoghurt
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

How to Cook Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Lahana Sarması

1- Cut the cabbage in half vertically and cut out the hearts. Plunge into a pot of salted boiling water and cook for about 8-10 minutes. The leaves should be tender but not overcooked. Rinse under cold running water and carefully remove the outer leaves. Cutaway the hard central vein, resulting in about 25 pieces of cabbage leaves, about the size of your hand.

Lemon and yoghurt suit very well with stuffed cabbage rolls.
Lemon and yoghurt suit very well with stuffed cabbage rolls.

2- As for the filling; put the ground meat in a bowl and stir in the onions, parsley, dried mint, red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper and knead, until they all combined well. Add the rice and mix well with a spoon, taking care not to break the rice grains.

3- Take one of the cabbage leaves on a flat surface and spoon a walnut size of the filling at the base of each leaf. Fold the edges over the filling and roll up to form chunky finger-sized dolma. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Other Steps to Cook Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Lahana Sarması

4- Pour the remaining olive oil in a deep, wide pan. Arrange the dolmas in the pan seam side down and side by side. If you like, scatter the garlic cloves amongst the dolmas – once they are cooked the cloves will be moist and juicy, and will add a wonderful flavour. Mix the lemon juice, hot water and a pinch of salt, then pour over the dolmas. The liquid should come at least halfway up the top layer, so you may need to add extra liquid. Place a heavy plate over the leaves to stop them from unravelling, followed by a lid or foil.

You can serve hot, with yoghurt by the side and lemon wedges to squeeze over.
You can serve hot, with yoghurt by the side and lemon wedges to squeeze over.

5- Cook over low heat for about 35-40 minutes, until the dolmas are tender. Remove from the heat and let the dolmas rest for about 10 minutes. That will help the dolmas to come out without breaking and make the flavour even better.

Serve hot, with yoghurt by the side and lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Note: You can also use grapevine leaves for dolma, yaprak sarmasi with either using the vegetarian aromatic rice stuffing or meat and rice stuffing.

Bon appetit!

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