Sarma - Bosnian Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

READY IN: 3hrs 30mins


  • 2
    lbs sour cabbage leaves (or one large head)
  • 10
    ounces ground veal (beef or lamb may be used if you prefer)
  • 13
    cup rice
  • 1
    medium onion, finely minced
  • salt and pepper
  • beef stock or water
  • butter and sour cream, to serve


  • Separate the cabbage leaves, being careful not to tear them.
  • Mix meat, rice, onion, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Place about a tablespoon or more (use your own judgment based on the size of the leaves) of the meat mixture into each cabbage leaf, near its base.
  • Begin rolling the leaf from the base into a thick cylinder, tucking in the sides after the first "roll."
  • Layer the cylinders tightly into a medium-sized or large pot.
  • Cover the sarma with beef stock or water (I find that if you use water, it makes its own broth anyways with the meat as it cooks).
  • Cover the pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for at least three hours.
  • Serve with butter and sour cream, with or without some of the cooking liquids according to your preference.
  • *Boiled potatoes are often eaten with sarma, and they go quite well together.