Cabbage is one of the most popular Winter vegetables in Turkey. There are several dishes made from cabbage such as cabbage stew, cabbage borek (a kind of pastry), cabbage soup, cabbage pickles, and stuffed cabbage rolls. Among all these dishes, stuffed cabbage rolls are my favorite and the most common one.
Just like stuffed grapevine leaves, there are various kinds of cabbage rolls. Sometimes the shape of its rolling changes, but generally its filling has variety. In fact, rice is the constant ingredient of its filling but there may be some different additions to it. In some regions minced meat is added, in some regions tomatoes and some greens (we call it cabbage rolls/cabbage sarma with olive oil), are added and in some other regions chestnut is the addition. I love the one with olive oil as this main dish turns out to be a snack for me like stuffed grapevine leaves, so I’ll give its recipe here. I made these stuffed cabbage rolls last Sunday, and we finished it today. I love it so much that I felt so upset while eating the last roll. So I strongly recommend you to make these rolls in large amounts.
• 1 small size cabbage
• 1 liter water
• 1tbsp salt
For its filling:
• 2 glasses rice
• 4 onions
• 4 middle size tomatoes, diced
• 1 green pepper, diced
• 2 scallions, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, sliced
• Half bunch of parsley, minced
• 2 lemons, juice
• 1 tbsp pepper/tomato paste
• 1 tsp dry mint
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp thyme
• 1 tsp black pepper
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
(If you like, add 200gr minced meat into it.)
Wash the cabbage, throw the outer leaves away and seperate all its leaves.
Put enough water (about 1 liter) into a large pot, add 1tbsp salt and boil it. Put the cabbage leaves into this boiling water and boil them until they get tender (but not too much), when their color turns to yellow, (after about 3-4 minutes) take out them from water.
Now try to cut them in regular shapes. We don’t use the thick streaks of these leaves, so cut them out. You can use these thick pieces in a vegetable stew the following day.
For its filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.
Now get one piece and lay it on a flat surface. Put some filling mixture on it and roll it up.
The shape is not so important herei, just try to roll it well and do not put a lot of filling in it, otherwise you’ll lose some of them.
Place these cabbage rolls in a pot leaving the center empty. Pour the watery part of the mixture on the rolls. When you finish all the leaves, but still have some filling mixture, do not throw it away.
Put that mixture in a glass bowl and place it over the space in the middle of the rolls. Moreover, if you like you can chop the thick pieces into it and have a bowl of another dish of cabbage.
Put the pot on the lowest heat and cook it for half an hour. Then add ¼ cup of water into it and let it cook for an hour.
You can serve it warm or cold with some lemon slices and greens. And I think the best pair of these rolls is a bowl of home made yogurt.