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Zeytov Sarma

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

Cook on stovetop. Yields 20-30 sarma. Watch the video here.

Recipe provided by Nataly Tchamichian.

Dietary Notes

Dairy free, gluten free, nut free, peanut free, vegetarian, vegan

What you’ll need

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 cup (240 mL) uncooked rice

  • 1 cup (240 mL) tomato sauce

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) tomato paste,

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL red pepper paste

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) lemon juice, and more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pomegranate molasses

  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cayenne pepper

  • ¼ bunch finely chopped parsley

  • 1 carrot, sliced into thin wedges

  • 1 potato, sliced into thin wedges

  • 30-40 grape leaves

  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

  • 1 cup (240 mL) water

  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil


  1. In a large saucepan heat oil at high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook for until the onions begin to turn clear, but not brown.

  2. Add rice and stir to combine so that all the rice is covered with oil.

  3. Reduce heat to medium and add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and red pepper paste. Stir to combine.

  4. Take the pan off the heat and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Let the mixture cool and add parsley. Once mixed, taste the sarma filling and add more salt, pepper, lemon, or molasses as needed.

  6. Take a grape leaf, remove the stalk, and place it veins-up on a plate with the bottom of the leaf facing you. Spoon 1-2 scoops of filling into the leaf and fold the sides of the leaf over the filling. Roll the leaf away from you to create a roll with the filling inside.

  7. Repeat step 6 until you’re out of filling or leaves. If a leaf rips, place a second leaf over the ripped area and continue with step 6.

  8. Layer carrot and potato slices at the bottom of your cooking pot so that the base is covered, and then add your sarma.

  9. Add water, oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and a touch of salt to the pot.

  10. Cooking instructions Pressure Cooker - Heat the pot at high heat for approximately 7 minutes until the pot is at pressure. - Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes. - Turn off the heat and let the pot cool for 5 minutes before opening. Cooking pot - On top of your sarma, place a sheet of parchment paper and a heavy pot lid or plate to keep the rolls at the bottom of the pot. - Cover your pot, and cook on medium-to-low heat for 20-30 minutes, until grape leaves are tender.

  11. Remove the sarma from the pot and let cool before serving.

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