Balandeliai is considered to be a Lithuanian dish although it is not confined to the country alone. The balandeliai is a delicate cabbage wrap filled with meat and rice. Stuffing the cabbage leaves with a mixture of ground meat and rice and then boiling them or frying them is the usual way for cooking this dish according to the traditional balandeliai recipes. Another innovative and healthy method of cooking balandeliai is to pour tomato paste and sour cream along with meat stock on the cabbage wraps and baking them in an oven.
History Of Balandeliai Recipes
The history of balandeliai recipes is not very clear as the dish is eaten in Lithuania along with its neighboring countries of Eastern Europe like Ukraine and Russia. The Jews of the region and the Germans also eat a form of the balandeliai although the term for these delicious cabbage wraps vary from region o region.
Ingredients And Popular Balandeliai Recipes
An average sized cabbage along with ground meat of any kind chicken, turkey, lamb, pork or beef are the main ingredients that go into the dish of balandeliai . 2-3 cups of raw uncooked rice along with onions, dill and parsley are used as well. Eggs along with a few cloves of garlic are used to bind the filling along with spicing it up. Water or stock is required to boil the wraps for some time before they are become to eat.
The primary procedure for cooking balandeliai initiates with the boiling of cabbage until it becomes tender. However, care must be taken to keep it crisp as well as overcooking will completely spoil the dish.
All the other ingredients except the garlic are then mixed together and placed into the cabbage leaf. It is wrapped carefully and immersed in boiling water or stock. Some bay leaves, flakes of garlic and sliced carrots added to the boiling water enhances the flavor of the balandeliai considerably.
Adding some tomato paste later on is optional but helps to add to the flavor as well. The cabbage wraps take about half an hour to cook and can be served with boiled potatoes and sour cream.
Nutritional Facts Of Balandeliai
Balandeliai is considered to be a nutritious food with the vitamins and the minerals of the cabbage remaining intact. It contains a good amount of essential minerals too although it is quite high in calories. Deep frying the cabbage rolls increases the fat content substantially which makes the boiled or baked dish a healthier variation.
- The name balandeliai means ‘little pigeon’ in Lithuanian.