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Step 2: Gently Cut Out The Thick Stem From The CenterUsing a sharp paring knife, cut along the edges of the stem on both sides very gently. Remove the stem being careful not to tear or damage the leafy portions on each side. Your leaf should look like this.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Step 3: Cut Your Leaf Into Three PiecesNow, take your paring knife and carefully cut your leaf into three pieces. One triangular-shaped piece from the tip, and two side pieces. If the side pieces seem much larger than the tip, you can divide each one into two pieces to make a total of five pieces.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Step 4: Place Your Meat Filling At The Center BottomMake your first "sarma" with the triangular-shaped leaf tip as this is easiest to roll. Pinch off a piece of your meat filling about the size of a peanut in it's shell. Adjust the size according to your leaf size. Place it in an oblong shape at the center bottom of your leaf piece.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Step 5: Fold Both Sides Of The Leaf Over The FillingUsing the tips of your fingers, gently fold both sides of the leaf over the filling. This will ensure they will be no openings at the ends while the "sarma" cooks.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Step 6: Begin Rolling Up The Sarma Gently With Your FingertipsNow, begin rolling the "sarma" gently with your fingertips. Make sure the ends always stay tucked in while you roll.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Step 6: This Is How Your Roll Should Look Half-way ThroughHere is what your "sarma" should look like halfway through the rolling process.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Step 7: Roll All The Way Up To The EndContinue rolling your "sarma" gently, all the way to the end. Notice how the ends stay perfectly tucked in. The end should be on the bottom when you're finished.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Step 7: This Is What Your Finished Rolls Should Look Like
Your finished rolls should be neat, and nearly the same size. This will take a little practice.
Don't worry if your first batch is all different sizes. It will still taste great.
You have to expirement with the size of the leaf pieces and the amount of filling you place in each leaf to get a perfect, uniform size.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Step 8: Place Your "Sarma" In A Covered PotPlace your "sarma" next to one another in your cooking pot. As you roll them, place them directly in the pan. Place them close together and in the same direction.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Step 9: Line The Entire Bottom With "Sarma"
Continue making your "sarma" rolls until the entire bottom of the pan is covered. Make sure the rolls are close enough together touch, but not too tightly packed. Continue making a second layer.
Once all your leaves and filling are finished, your "sarma" are ready to cook. If you have leftover filling, you can freeze it for the next time.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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Step 10: Cook Your "Sarma" For This Mouth-Watering Result
Once your pan is full of perfectly-wrapped "sarma," follow the directions in this recipe for cooking and serving them.
In this recipe, you can use Swiss chard, collard greens or any other dark, leafy green vegetable with large, flat leaves. Don't attempt to use spinach leaves. They are too small, thin and wrinkly.
To learn all about Turkish stuffed and wrapped vegetables and leaves, read All Things Stuffed... and Wrapped -- A Tribute to the "Dolma" and "Sarma".