Original name: Lahana Sarmasi

Origin: Turkey


Cabbage rolls (sarma)
1 big cabbage (the thinner leaves it has, the better it is!)
100 gr rice
50 gr bulgur (cracked wheat) or couscous
150 gr soya mince (original recipe is with ground beef)
1 big onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 bunch of parsley chopped (around 20 gr)
1 bunch of fresh basil (around 20 gr) chopped or 1 teaspoon of dry basil
½ bunch of fresh mint (around 10 gr) chopped or ½ teaspoon of dry mint
2 tablespoons of dense tomato paste (if it is home-made and strong, 1 tablespoon is enough)
1 tablespoon of dense red pepper paste (Turkish pepper paste!)
100 ml olive oil + 1 tablespoon for a drizzle on top
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt (if tomato, pepper pastes and soya mince are already salty put less salt)

To serve
500 ml yogurt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Turkish pepper paste
1 tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste (mutti triplo concentrato)
100 ml olive oil
1 teaspoon of dry mint
Freshly grounded black pepper

Pour abundant water in a big and deep pot and let it boil. With the help of a sharp knife, remove the thick stem of the cabbage, carving from the bottom towards inside at least 10 cm. When the water starts boiling, put the whole cabbage inside the pot and let it boil for 8-10 minutes. Then remove the cabbage out and let it drain. In the meanwhile, mix all the rest of the ingredients in the list to prepare the filling. Get a pot which is wide, but not so deep. Start making the rolls: get a cabbage leaf on a flat surface and put 1 tablespoon of the filling at the base. Fold the right and left edges over the filling and roll up to form a dumpy finger sized sarma (roll). Place the sarma in the pot. Repeat the same thing with the remaining leaves and inside the pot, put sarmas very tight to each other. Pour 300 ml water to the pot, add a drizzle of olive oil on top and sprinkle some additional salt. Place a flat porcelain plate on top of sarmas to keep them tight together. Cook covered over high heat until it starts boiling, then simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the sarmas aside for 15 minutes before serving.

Mix yogurt with minced garlic and a ¼ teaspoon of salt and put it aside. Dissolve the Turkish pepper paste and tomato paste in a glass with little water (1/4 of the glass). In a small pan heat the oil, add the dissolved paste paste, dry mint and freshly grounded black pepper in the pan and bring to boil. Make it boil in low flame for 1-2 minues and then remove from the heat.

Serve sarmas hot with yogurt and the pepper-tomato sauce on top like in the picture.