'Balandeliai' is one of my favourite dishes that reminds me of Lithuania. Though originally it's not completely a Lithuanian dish, anyway, every Lithuanian grew up eating 'zepelinai' or 'balandeliai'. Zepelinai is an absolutely different story... Hope to find some time in the future.... But as today I had a Lithuanian guest in my house, I made balandeliai. My guest even said that it smelled like from her mother's kitchen... I guess it means they were good! :)
There are several ways of preparing this dish. The first, wrap ground meat and rice into cabbage leave and boil into meat stock or water. Another way is to fry them in a pan and only then finish cooking in the pot with stock. Ans the third way of preparing is pouring stock and tomato and sour cream on the wraps and baking them in the oven. All ways are really delicious and really worth trying! Today I made balandeliai the first way as I'm trying to eat leaner food... you know... summer's coming...
What we need:
1 average cabbage
300gr of ground meat ( I used turkey)
2/3 of glass of uncooked rice
a bunch of dill and parsley
salt and pepper
some spinach ( optional)
2 tbsp tomatoe paste
1 l of water or meat stock
1 clove of garlic
some sour cream or ketchup for serving ( optional)
What we have to do:
1. Put cabbage into a big pot and pour some water and salt. Let it boil until the leaves become a bit tender and it's easy to take them off. Don't overcook them!!!
2. Mix ground meat with rice ( you can use boiled rice too), onion, dill and parsley, salt and pepper, boiled spinach and egg.
3. Take some meat mix and wrap it into a cabbage leave.
4. Put the wraps into a pot. Add some chopped carrots and garlic clove, bay leave and meat stock. When it boils for 10 min, add tomato paste. Let it simmer for about 30 min. Add some salt and pepper if you feel like...
5. Serve with boiled potatoes and sour cream or ketchup.