Food - Drink
The Ingredients That Make Romanian Cabbage Rolls Unique
By CLARICE KNELLY
Cabbage rolls filled with meat or vegetables are popular all across the globe, but originated in the ancient Middle East before finding a niche in Eastern Europe. Romania in particular has its own fantastic take on cabbage rolls, which are called sarmale, taken from the Turkish word "sarmak" (meaning "roll" or "package").
The Romanian cabbage roll is unique in that it uses pickled cabbage leaves for a stronger and more sour flavor. Stuffing and garnishes are customizable, but the filling usually includes ground pork, boiled rice, and caramelized onions, and the finished rolls are covered in dill and simmered in tomato juice called bulion.
Romanians often indulge in cabbage rolls around the holidays, including Christmas, giving this dish a solid position in the country's culture. To make this dish enjoyable by everyone at your holiday party, try experimenting with vegetarian fillings, and use sauerkraut to wrap the rolls to add that signature tart and pickled flavor.