Sunday, January 15, 2012

Сърми (Rice wrapped in sauerkraut leaves)

As one of my favorite dishes in Bulgarian cuisine, I don't miss out on making сърми with my mom every winter whenever I happen to spend it in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find whole sauerkraut leaves here in Denmark. Last winter, I tried to make pickled cabbage as a substitute, but the taste was distinctively different from what I would have liked it to be. Yet another replacement of sauerkraut leaves could be grape leaves, but I don't know of any vineyards around, where I could ask for some. So, next time around, I'm gonna have to plan in advance and learn how to make my own sauerkraut. 


sauerkraut leaves
1 leek 
1 onion
1/2 cup diced mushrooms/ minced meat (optional)
1 cup rice
1 tb. sp. dried savory
1 tb. sp. basil
1 t. sp. ground red pepper
a couple whole allspice berries
1 bay leaf
ground black pepper 
sunflower oil


1. Fry the finely chopped onion and leek for about 10 minutes with the sunflower oil on medium high temperature.
2. Add the rice, the mushrooms/ minced meat and the spices (reserving the allspice berries and the bay leaf for later). Continue frying until the rice looks crystal.
3. Add 1 1/2 cups hot water and continue cooking until the water evaporates.
4. Let the rice rest for a couple of minutes. 
5. Wrap the rice in the sauerkraut leaves, placing the wraps in a cooking pot, so there is no space between them.
6. Add the bay leaf and allspice berries between the wraps and add warm water a little bit below the wraps. (Note: Some people use the juice from the sauerkraut in addition to the water, but be aware of the wraps getting too salty.)
7. Put a ceramic plate (bottom up) on top of the wraps and put the pot on the stove. Cook for about 40 minutes after the water starts boiling on medium high temperature.

The rice wraps are perfect to serve both warm and cold. They could be garnished with yoghurt or anything else you see fit. Enjoy!

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