How to Cook Cabbage -
The Best Recipe for Cabbage Rolls

If you want to know how to cook cabbage, here are some easy recipes.
Cabbage is cheap and available year-round.

Cabbage is a staple in the winter in many Croatian and European households.

Like Swiss chard, it comes from the Mediterranean and it has been cultivated for over 2500 years.

It has a great ability to adapt to different climatic conditions and is very rich in vitamins and minerals (especially in vitamin C).

Together with potatoes and millet, cabbage was used widely in rural areas because it only required a small piece of land for cultivation.

How to cook cabbage

How to cook cabbage

Types of Cabbage

There are many types, but the main are green and red cabbage.

There is not a big difference between them. Red is usually eaten raw as a salad. Green can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled.

How to cook cabbage?

It can be prepared boiled, in stews, in braised dishes, we can make casserole as well as many kinds of rolls.

Pickled (sour) cabbage is mostly used in Croatia in the meal called sarma.

Sour cabbage contains lots of fiber that help in maintaining a healthy intestinal peristalsis. It is has high content of vitamin C, even more than some citrus fruits.

How to Cook Cabbage - Cabbage Recipes

Sour Cabbage Rolls - Arambasici

How to cook cabbage - Arambasici

This is my favorite recipe for cabbage rolls. It is such a delicious meal!

Arambasici is a very tasty dish that originates from the Middle East.

Arambasici are sour cabbage rolls, filled with meat and spices.

In winter, especially during Christmas, there is hardly a household in Croatia (especially in Dalmatia, a region in Croatia) where this meal isn't prepared traditionally. However, this does not mean that arambasi are not cooked during summer.

The name arambasici derives from harambasa, who was a leader of outlaws, bandits and fighters against the Ottoman rule in the 17th to 19th century in the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe.

The recipe mentioned here originates from a Croatian town Sinj.

Sinj is famous for Sinjska Alka which is a competition that celebrates a great victory over the Ottoman army in 1715 and brings many tourists to the city ever year in August.

For good arambasici, the main requirement is good (preferably homemade) sour cabbage.

What is the difference between arambasici and sarma in Croatian cuisine?

Sarma is definitely more widespread dish, and arambasici as a dish is mainly cooked in Dalmatia. For me arambasici is a much tastier dish.

Unlike sarma, there is no rice in arambasici, and they contain more spices and dried meat (jerky).

Here is an old recipe for arambasici, exactly the way my grandmother did it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 600 g/1.3 lb chuck beef, minced
  • 200 g/7 oz pork loin, minced
  • 150 g/5.3 oz dried ham (prosciutto), pancetta, or some other pork jerky, finely chopped
  • 1 head of sour cabbage
  • 1 medium sized white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • one pinch cinnamon
  • 2-3 dried cloves, crushed
  • 2 pinches grated nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • some other jerky (ham, bacon) according to taste, to be cooked with arambasici

Instructions:

Mix the beef, pork and 150 g/5.3 oz pork jerky. Add finely chopped onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cinnamon, dried cloves and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly with hands.

Prepare cabbage head by cutting its root at the top and separating the leaves.

Put 1 tablespoon of meat mixture on each leaf and make arambasi (roll the leaf), starting from the root. Roll each leaf well, so it doesn't unroll during cooking.

Cut the rest of the cabbage head into thin strips.

In a larger pot put some oil, dried pork (ham, bacon or whatever you have) and then place arambasici tightly one next to the other. Add the cabbage cut into strips above arambasici.

Pour in water to cover.

Cook on low heat for 2 hours.

You should not stir during cooking, just shake the pot a few times (left and right).

Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta.

Since arambasici taste better the following day, this dish is great for busy moms.

Just make a large pot of arambasici and you have the meal for the whole family for at least two days. Store overnight in a refrigerator and reheat the next day.

You can also put them in small plastic containers and freeze.


Cabbage Salad (Raw Cabbage)

Cut one half cabbage head with a knife to thin stripes. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.

Add vinegar, olive oil and sprinkle with water.

Let it rest for about ½ hour.

How to cook cabbage

Boiled Cabbage

If you don't know how to cook cabbage, here is one really easy and healthy recipe.

Ingredients:

  • ½ kg/1 lb potatoes, cut into cubes
  • ½kg/1lb cabbage, cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Instructions:

Cook the potatoes in salted water.

When half cooked, add the same amount of cleaned and washed cabbage.

When cooked (when the vegetables are tender) season with olive oil. Add garlic and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with fish or meat.


How to Sour Cabbage by Fermentation

Note: Soured cabbage is also called Sauerkraut.

You need:

  • A container (large food-grade plastic container of approx. 60 liters/16 gallons)
  • Approx. 50 kg / 110 lb cabbage
  • 30 liters/8 gal warm water
  • 1 kg/2.2 lb salt

Instructions:

Thoroughly wash the container with hot water.

Remove the outer leaves and cut off excess roots on top of cabbage heads.

Make a cross cut at the end of the root with a knife through the entire root.

Place the cabbage heads in the container tightly one to another with the roots up. If they aren't placed really tightly, they will rise to the surface.

In another smaller bowl make a brine of warm water (up to 40° C/104° F) and salt (on approximately 30 liters / 8 gallons water add 1 kg / 2,2 pounds salt). Make as much brine you need to completely cover the cabbage heads.

Pour the brine into the container until the cabbage is completely covered.

The container has to be left open for 2-3 days because the cabbage will release the air and the water level in the container will lower a little bit.

On the second and third day you have to make another brine to pour over again until the cabbage is completely covered with water. Make sure that you use the same water and salt ratio when you make the brine.

Close the container and let it rest for 3-4 weeks to sour.

After that it is ready for eating.

The temperature of the room where it is left to sour should not be lower than 15° C/60° F, since it will not sour in a cooler room.

Good luck and let me know your results!




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