Sarmale is the name for Romanian national dish which is actually boiled cabbage leaves (or young vine leaves) stuffed with minced pork and mixed with vegetables, such as carrot. The dish is served with tomato sauce and polenta or mămăligă as locals call it. Romanians take pride in their national cuisine, and treat it with respect and love—sarmale even has a diminutive name "sărmăluţe." Though the dish is enjoyed throughout the entire year, the most popular occasion falls during Christmas and during Easter festivities.
Originally, cabbage rolls came from Turkey where they were called "sarmak". This dish is a favourite in many East European and Balkan countries. Sarmale can be also cooked with fermented sour cabbage. A vegetarian version requires cabbage rolls to be stuffed with the mix of rice, mushrooms and roasted nuts.