Note to this recipe:
Kimchi is an essential part of Korean cuisine.
It is a strong, almost formidable delectation, indomitable like the Korean people themselves.
A hearty taste, Kimchi is an irrepressible force that somehow keeps you coming back for more.
Packed with solid robust flavours it is a food you’ll return to again and again.
So in looking for a signature dish that would enhance the already robust flavour of Kimchi I chose Croatian sarma. A dish of meat, rice and cabbage rolls served in a reassuring soup.
I was priviledged enough to be taught how to make Sarma by my mother in law – before she moved on to the next life. Sarma is a glorious flavour, and I hope this version is in some way close to that delicious flavour our “grandma” produced time and again. It was truly delicious.
The idea of adding something spicy and salty to an already fantastic tasting dish was with me even then. I have a tragically nostalgic image of my beloved mother in law “Baka” (Croatian for Grandma) telling me “It’s not sarma if you add anything to it.”
May her soul rest in peace.
So in combining kimchi with the Croatian technique of making sarma, in creating sarma with some Korean cooking techniques – I would like to present:
Baka’s Kimchi Sarma
250g Spek – juniper flavoured ham that is both salt cured and smoked, and popular in Croatian cuisine.
250g Pork Neck Mince
250g Beef Topside
Large Bunch Chopped Fresh Parsley
Half head Garlic
200g Arborio Rice (medium grain)
1 tbsp vegeta
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp 고추장Korean chilli paste
250g Kimchi – well chopped
20 Korean Anchovies
2 Tbsp black pepper corns
2-3 Large Smoked Bacon Ribs
100g thinly sliced Kimchi
2 large potatoes – skinned and chopped
50g salted butter, dash of milk
3 large leaves of preserved cabbage “kiselo kupo” or “sour cabbage”
Chop the anchovy heads, remove intestines. Put into boiling water with mixed peppercorns and smoked bacon ribs. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain the peppercorns and the anchovies, return the remaining stock to the heat.
Cook potatoes until soft. Mash with milk and butter. Set aside.
Chop the speck and the gimchi well, combine in a bowl with pork and beef mince, plus the chopped parsley. Add the paprika, vegeta, gochugang and rice. Combine one egg and a generous amount of salt – mix well by hand.
Use the inner leaves of a large head sour cabbage, cut away the thick middle lining and make 2 squares.
(You can use this cabbage in the soup)
Roll out a tbsp of filling, and wrap in a cabbage roll – is a good idea to use a toothpick to hold it together.
Put the cabbage rolls in the soup, simmer for about 15 minutes. Add chopped kimchi and excess cabbage – cook for another 15 minutes.
Remove the ribs, the cabbage rolls – taking the toothpicks out – serve with mash potatoes and a generous amount of soup stock.