This popular in Eastern European Dish is definitely worth your time! We call it Sarmi with the accent on “i”. There is a variety of sarmi that you can roll, but the one I will share with you is a 100% vegetarian option since my fiance does not eat meat. If this recipe is far from familiar to you, just carefully follow the instructions and you will be more than happy with the result. What do you need?
- A jar with grape leafs that you can find in the Greek section of your grocery chain or buy from Amazon.
- Brown Rice (I use long grain)
- Bulgur Wheat
- Low Sodium Crushed Tomatoes from a can but you can also use Fresh Tomatoes but make sure you kill their sour flavour with a little bit of sugar.
- 5 middle size white mushrooms
- 6-7 baby carrots
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 red pepper
- A few Garlic Cloves
- Spices: Salt, Pepper, Savory, Dill
- Patience of course 🙂
How to prepare?
- Chop the onions, the carrots, mushrooms and red pepper ( I do it with my electric chopper that saves me so much time)
- Put them in a pan with some olive oil to soften.
- Rinse the 1 cup of brown rice and the 1/2 cup bulgur and the brown rice and add to the veggies in the pan. Stir for a couple of minutes and add the proportions of water that is stated on the label of the rice and bulgur package. Depending on the rice type you use, it always differs.
- In about 5 minutes, I add 3 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes.
- The heat needs to be lower so that the rice and bulgur do not burn and stick to the bottom of your pan.
- Cook for about 20 minutes
Second part of the cooking process:
- Once you have cooked the rice and the veggies for about 20 minutes, add the spices and taste it to see if they are enough for your taste. If they are, continue the process.
- Take out the grape leaves from the jar and spread them on a surface.
- The leafs that are broken or too small you can place on the bottom of a cooking pan.
- Take a spoon of the rice mixture and put it in the center of the grape leaf.
- Roll the leaf so that the rice mixture does not come out when boiling. Then place in the cooking pan. Repeat the process.
- Place the fresh garlic cloves in between the layers of roll for aroma.
*Important to know: Put less rice mixture in the leaf because the rice and bulgur will expand more when you continue cooking.
- When you complete a row of rolls in the cooking pan, you can cover them with another layer of grape leafs so that you make sure they stay in place when cooking.
- Repeat the process with more grape leaf rolls.
- After you have exhausted your rice mixture, cover again all the rolls with more grape leaves and place on top of them a bowl/plate to keep them where they are and prevent from unrolling while boiling.
- Cover all the rolls with water.
- Boil on a medium heat for about 30 more minutes. This again depends on your rice type.
Once your rolls are completely cooked (you can check that by trying the rice in the roll if it is soft enough to eat) you can organize in a plate and add some cold plain yogurt on top (Visit my blog on how you can make your own yogurt at home.)
If you are a meat lover, you can easily add ground chicken or pork while cooking your rice and veggies and the grape leaf rolls will look like this:
This recipe takes a little longer but it is worth trying and experimenting with a new cuisine. Please share with me, if you like the result. Did you experience any problems while cooking? How did it turn out?