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Secrets for the Perfect Sarma

Sarma – stuffed sour cabbage rolls with mashed potatoes (Photo: CroChef)

Winter is coming and a favourite winter dish in Croatia is sarma, the tasty stuffed rolled cabbage leaves…

The chef of one of Zagreb’s leading restaurant’s ‘Bon Appetit’, Berislav Lacković, unselfishly reveals his tricks and tips to prepare the perfect sarma.

“In the sarma mixture always add a bit of dried meat, the sarma will get a great taste, but you have to be carefull that the dried meat is not over-powering,” says Lacković, adding that you must first cook the dried meat first before adding it in to the mixture.

Chef Lacković also has some other little tips that contribute to the overall taste of the dish.

“It is very important that you thoroughly wash the cabbage so the sarma is also does not have too much of a strong taste. At the bottom of the pot before you put in the rolled sarma you should put the skin of some špek (pancetta) to stop the sarma from burning,” he says.

Once all the sarma is in the pot, leftover cabbage leaves should be put on top. The sarma is now ready to cook for around an hour an a half.

700g minced pork meat
1 whole cabbage head
100g špek (pancetta)
100g rice
1/2 onion
2 chopped garlic
1 teaspoon red paprika powder
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

– Separate the cabbage leaves and cut the root of the cabbage, make sure the leaves are not too tough or thick.
– Chop garlic, onions finely and pancetta into small cubes
– Fry the onions till they go soft and golden
– Add salt, pepper, red paprika, fried onions, pancetta and rice to the minced meat and stir, add some water if need be
– In the cabbage leaves add the mixture and fold – tuck in the edges
– Place in pot (pancetta on bottom – cabbage cut on top of sarma) add a little water and cook for 1.5 hours on a low heat
– Enjoy

Check out how chef Lacković exactly prepares the dish on the portal Gastro.hr

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