Sarma (food)

Sarma (Cyrillic: Сарма), commonly marketed as filled grape leaves or filled cabbage leaves, is a stuffed dish in Southeastern European and made of vegetable leavessuch as cabbage, patience dock, collard, grapevine, kale or chard leavesrolled around a filling of grains (such as rice), minced meat, or both. Sarma is part of the broader category of stuffed dishes known as dolma.

Coursemain course
Region or stateBalkans
Serving temperaturehot or room temperature
Main ingredientscabbage leaves, rice, mince meat
VariationsWith cabbage leaves, mince meat and rice filling (served hot)

Terminology and etymology

Variants of sarma from Turkey

Sarma is a Turkish word meaning 'wrapped'.[1]

Sarma made with grape leaves are called yaprak sarması (lit.'leaf sarma') or yaprak dolması (lit.'leaf dolma') in Turkish, yabraq (يبرق) in Arabic, yaprak dolması (lit.'leaf dolma') in Azerbaijani,[2] and dolme barg-e mo (دلمه برگ مو, lit.'vine leaf dolma') in Persian and waraq 'inab (ورق عنب) or waraq dawālī (ورق دوالي) in Arabic. In Armenian, they are called մսով տերեւափաթաթ (missov derevapatat), տերեւի տոլմա (derevi dolma) and տերեւի սարմա (derevi sarma). [3] In Greek they are generally called ντολμάδες (dolmades) but may also be known as γιαπράκια (yaprakia), γιαπράκια γιαλαντζί (yaprakia yalandzi), ντολμαδάκια (dolmadakia), ντολμαδάκια γιαλαντζί (dolmadakia yalandzi), σαρμάδες (sarmadhes), or σαρμαδάκια (sarmadhakia).[3]

In Bulgarian, Macedonian and Romanian, cabbage and grapevine leaves are not usually differentiated.[3]

Stuffed chard leaves are called pazı dolması in Turkey[4] and dolmas de pazi by Sephardi Jews who settled in Argentina.[5]


A grapevine leaf roll is a dish consisting of cooked grapevine leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. Stuffed vine leaves without meat are sometimes called yalancı dolma, which means "liar's dolma" in Turkish.[6] Vişneli yalancı dolması is a variation of stuffed vine leaves where the rice is seasoned with cinnamon, allspice and mint. The dolmas are slowly cooked together with morello cherries (vişne), and plums may be used also.[7]

Vine leaves may also be used to wrap stuffed celery root. Before wrapping, the celery root is stuffed with rice that has been seasoned with cinnamon, salt, pepper, allspice, pine nuts and sugar. (This type of rice is called iç pilav.) Dried fruits like fig and apricot may be added to the rice mixture before the celery root is stuffed, wrapped and baked in the oven.[8] Some variations may include quince.[9]

Regional and national variants

Drob sarma


In Albania, sarme is cigar-shaped and is often made in the northern regions, but can be found throughout.[10][11][12] It is typically made of cabbage or grape leaves and filled with meat, rice, and spices.[10][11][12][13] It can be served with yogurt or a yogurt-based drink.[10] It can be a meal for special occasions or during the winter.[11] In southern Albania, a lemon slice can be added while cooking the stuffing.[12]


In Bulgaria, besides the two main rolled varieties—cabbage sarma (usually eaten in winter) and vine sarma (in spring and summer)—there is also a layered variety called drob sarma (дроб сарма, literally 'liver sarma'). Drob sarma is a dish of finely chopped offal (liver and lung), rice, browned onions and herbs, baked in an oven, and after a while covered with a mixture of eggs and yoghurt and baked again.[14] The dish may be covered or even wrapped in fat netting before being baked. All sarma dishes can be served with fresh yoghurt on the side.


In Cyprus koupepia are made with ground beef and pork, rice and a tomato and cinnamon sauce all wrapped in a grape leaf.[15]

Romania and Moldova

In Romania and Moldova, sarmale are popular in all historical regions, Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia. Each usually consists of minced pork, rice, onion, eggs, thyme and dill rolled in a leaf, usually a cabbage leaf. The baking dish is lined with chopped cabbage and sauerkraut layered with bacon or pork belly and the cabbage rolls, then topped with more sauerkraut and dill sprigs. The cooking water is poured over the assembled tray, a mixture of sauerkraut juice and seasonings. It is typically accompanied by mămăligă (polenta) and smântână (sour cream). It is a traditional dish for Easter and Christmas meals.[16]


Vegetarian sarma in time of Fasting before the Christmas (Serbian cuisine)

In Serbia a vegetarian version of stuffed cabbage rolls is one of the dishes that can be eaten during the observance of Lent and before the Christmas.[17]

Amasya and Tokat, Turkey

In the Turkish provinces of Amasya and Tokat, sarma is prepared in a style similar to maklouba, with different fillings. One version made with fava beans is called bakla sarma. The filling for this variant from Amasya is made with dried fava beans and a coarsely ground wheat called yarma cooked in a seasoned tomato sauce. The wrapped sarma are layered over bone-in lamb chops and simmered slowly in the cooking liquid. The finished dish is served upside down.[18] A similar variation from Tokat is stuffed with a lentil, bulgur and chickpea filling. Homemade red pepper paste may be substituted for some of the tomato paste.[19]

See also


  1. Engin Akin, Essential Turkish Cuisine, 2015, ISBN 9781617691720, s.v. "Dolma and Sarma"
  2. "Yarpaq dolması". (in Azerbaijani). 31 October 2012. Archived from the original on June 25, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  3. Mladenova, Olga (1998). Grapes and Wine in the Balkans: An Ethno-linguistic Study. ISBN 9783447040372.
  4. Migros Türkiye. Üçgen Pazı Dolması. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  5. Diner, Hasia R.; Cinotto, Simone (2018). Global Jewish Foodways: A History. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-1-4962-0609-1.
  6. Marks, Gil (2010-11-17). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. HMH. ISBN 978-0-544-18631-6.
  7. "Vişneli Yaprak Sarma tarifi - Haber - Mutfağım". Kanal D. 26 June 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-01-18. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  8. "Zeytinyağlı, Kuru Meyveli Kereviz Dolması". Sabah. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  9. Nursel'in Evi. Ayvalı Kereviz Dolması Tarifi. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  10. "17 Most Popular Albanian Foods to Try". Nomad Paradise. 14 August 2022. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  11. "Albanian Food: 12 Must-Try Traditional Dishes of Albania". Travel Food Atlas. 27 September 2022 [19 October 2021]. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  12. Dogan, Yunus; Nedelcheva, Anely; Łuczaj, Łukasz; Drăgulescu, Constantin; Stefkov, Gjoshe; Maglajlić, Aida; Ferrier, Jonathan; Papp, Nora; Hajdari, Avni; Mustafa, Behxhet; Dajić-Stevanović, Zora; Andrea, Pieroni (2015). "Of the importance of a leaf: the ethnobotany of sarma in Turkey and the Balkans". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 11: 26. doi:10.1186/s13002-015-0002-x. PMC 4428097. PMID 25890379.
  13. Palmer, Sarah (17 January 2022). "Tirana is Albania's food capital: Here's what you have to try". EuroNews.Travel. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  14. "Bulgarian Drob Sarma". Archived from the original on 2021-10-31. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  15. "Cyprus Recipes- Koupepia".
  16. "Romanian Stuffed Cabbage (Sarmale)".
  17. "Serbian Recipes for Orthodox Lent".
  18. Show TVundefined (Director). Nursel'in Mutfağı - Baklalı Dolma Tarifi / 25 Şubat. Event occurs at 738 seconds. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  19. "Mercimekli Yaprak Sarma tarifi (Tokat) - Haber - Mutfağım". Kanal D. 28 December 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-04-11. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.