This is one of my favorite dishes, just a little differently prepared and more awesome version. As every Macedonian, I usually keep vine leaves in my freezer during the year and I also keep dried peppers during the whole year .We have our own grape which is non-sprayed and I usually pick the leaves before summer when leaves are still young. But when I don't have enough leaves, I compensate with dried peppers which I fill with the same meat mixture and I cook them together with sarma. It's delicious!

  • 40 vine leaves
  • 7 dried peppers
  • 500 g minced meat
  • 150 g rice
  • 1 tsp vegetable seasoning
  • 1 tsp red paprika
  • pinch of salt
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • water to cover sarma and peppers
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  1. If leaves are fresh and young, they are ready for use. Just wash them. If you keep leaves in the freeze (like I mostly do), then just put them in some warm water to unfreeze and to soften. You can boil them in hot water for several minutes if leaves are thick. 
  2. Also boil peppers for several minutes to soften, then clean from the seeds and handles.
  3. Then fry the meat in a frying pan with some olive oil, add rice, seasoning, red paprika, salt, parsley and oregano in the end and mix well. You can add some tomato sauce in the filling.
  4. Put a little of the meat mixture into each leaf and wrap them. Wrap them so that you first fold one side over, then the other side, then roll. Arrange them in the pot. 
  5. Then, fill the peppers and put them over the sarma. Add water to cover them and add tomato sauce. Add salt if needed.
  6. Cook for about 45 minutes until rice is cooked well. 
  7. Serve with fermented milk on top.