Moldavian Sarmale (Cabbage Rolls)

Moldavian Sarmale (Cabbage Rolls)


10 people made this

About this recipe: Sarmale is a meal that is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve. Pork, rice and vegetable are rolled in cabbage leaves to make plump little parcels. Of course, you can eat them anytime of the year.


Serves: 5 

  • 625g long grain rice, rinsed
  • 900g pork loin roast, finely diced
  • 450g carrots, chopped
  • 450g onions, chopped
  • 1 pinch salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower seed oil
  • 175g parsley roots, chopped
  • 1 medium head cabbage

Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr45min 

  1. Place rice in a medium bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let soak for 15 minutes, then drain.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, parsley roots, onions and tomato puree. Cook and stir until the vegetables are tender. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the rice.
  3. Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the same frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for about 2 minutes, just until browned on the outside. Transfer to the bowl with the rice and vegetables; season with dill and black pepper. Stir until everything is well blended. Set the mixture aside to cool.
  4. Carefully remove the leaves from the head of cabbage and place them in a large saucepan with about 5cm of water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and flexible.
  5. Remove the cabbage leaves from the pan, but leave enough in the bottom to cover. On each of the remaining leaves, place about 2 tablespoons of the pork and rice mixture in the centre and wrap the leaf around to cover. Place the stuffed cabbage leaves into the pan.
  6. When the pan is full, place a few boiled cabbage leaves over the top. Pour boiling water into the pot to cover the cabbage rolls and place over medium-low heat. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the rice is tender.

Parsley roots

Are similar to parsnips, but lighter in colour. The flavour and texture is a mixture of turnip, carrot and parsnip. If unavailable, substitute in turnips or parsnips.

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Reviews (1)


Hi, I tried this recipe as I had way too much cabbage to eat. It was really tasty and fun to make. However the quantities in the recipe gave me about double the amount of filling I could possibly use. I would recommend this recipe but with half the quantities. It was by far the most interesting recipe I found for excess cabbage! thanks to the poster RodicaG - 17 Nov 2013

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