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Moldovian "Varzare" or Pockets with Cabbage

The recipe is for Traditional Moldovian "Varzare" or Pockets with Cabbage"!

With the biggest pleasure, today, I'm sharing with you one of the traditional recipes from my cuisine.

These pockets are easy to make, and the ingredients for them are cheap, of course.

They can be with any kind of filling but the most traditional way to make them is with cabbage or with fermented cabbage!

So feel free to experiment with different flavors, even sweet ones and as an example, I've really liked them with pickles and smoked tofu :)

Let me know if you would like to see more traditional recipes like this one ;)

Grab the recipe along with some history of traditional Moldovian cuisine!

Traditional Moldovan cuisine is famous for a wide variety of different dishes and delicious taste. It’s due to the fact that it has been developed under influence of cultures of many peoples who lived on this territory during the past centuries: Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Jews, Germans and others.

Moldova is considered to be a country of grapes, fruits and plentiful vegetables, sheep breeding and poultry farming. Favorite dishes of Moldovans are brynza (a cheese-like dairy product), polenta ("mamaliga", a mash from corn flour), and dishes from vegetables, fruits and meat. And of course, wine has a special place in the Moldovan cuisine.

Brynza, goat cheese, has been produced in Moldova since the 17th century, when sheep breeding was very popular. They use brynza in preparation of different dishes of national cuisine. They also serve it as an appetizer.

Another, just as famous dish in Moldova is polenta ("mamaliga"). It’s made of fully cooked corn flour, and served with brynza, milk, red-beet soup, salted fish, and cracklings. Corn appeared in Moldova about 200 ago. First it was used for cooking food for poor people, but now it is used for preparation of various dishes (soups, side dishes).

Moldovan cuisine is famous for a variety of vegetables and fruits; there is plenty of it in Moldova thanks to the favorable climate conditions. Traditional for the local cuisine dishes are dishes from diverse vegetables like: marrows, egg-plants, bell peppers, tomatoes. Beans, lentil, radish, onion are commonly used for cooking as well. Vegetables are used either separately or as a side dish. Vegetables can be roasted, stewed, baked, marinated, or boiled. Bell peppers and egg-plants are often stuffed with rice and meat, or other vegetables. Various vegetable ragout, puree from beans, appetizers from marinated vegetables are also popular.

They use different spices like pepper, savory, cloves, and tarragon to spice the dishes in Moldova. Onion and celery are often served separately. Garlic is also very popular. There are two popular types of sauce with garlic in Moldova "mujdei" and "scordoli", besides that they add garlic in almost every meat or vegetable dish.

Flour products of Moldovan cuisine include various stuffed pies, "vareniki". They use grapes and different fruits for desserts such as quince, apples, plums, cherries, apricots, nuts. Corn cake, "Gogos" cookies, "Semiluna", "Alvita", "Peltea" are the most popular confectionary products.

None of traditional holidays is organized without Moldovan wine. Moldovan wine is very well known even abroad. Wines are commonly used for cooking of national dishes and are always there at the festive dinner. Wines accompany almost every meal.

Traditional Moldovan Cahors wine is served with stuffed pies. Moldovan cognacs (divin) are also very popular.

Polenta and brynza are often served with red wines made of different kinds of grapes. But dishes with stewed or roasted vegetables are served with light rose or white wines. Desserts are normally served with sherry filled with aroma of wildflowers, fruits and nuts.

In Moldova wine is also used for making of confectionary products, like cookies and cakes and cookies made with puff paste. Moldovan halva and nut nougat are just delicious. Red dessert wines which could be served as a dessert are often served with different desserts.

Therefore, Moldovan cuisine has a very long history. It’s very rich in plentiful grapes, fruits, vegetables, meat and milk products and cereals and other natural food products that are ecologically pure. It’s one of the most interesting cuisines of the world. Its main distinguish characteristic is a combination of different food products and richness of taste. *source

Prep: 30 min

Cook time: 35 min

Level: average

Servings: 12 portions

Calories per serving: 197 kcal

Find the recipe & nutrition facts below :

For the dough:

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1/2 cup oil

  • 1/2 cup juice from pickles

For the filling:

  • 2 tbsp oil

  • 1/4 medium-sized fermented cabbage (or fresh)

  • 2 onions

  • 5-6 pickles

  • 1 tsp chili paste


Step 1: Mix all of the ingredients for the dough and mix until you form a non-sticky dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 20-25 mins.

Step 2: Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a large frying pan. Place the chopped onion and fry for around 10 minutes until golden brown. (if you want to avoid frying, you can cook onion in a mix of water and oil)

Step 3: Place the cabbage and cook for 5 more minutes, add pickles and chili paste, mix all together and turn off the heat.

Step 4: Preheat oven to 180C.

Step 5: Cover a deep baking tray with baking paper.

Step 6: Divide the dough into 12 equal parts.

Step 7: Roll out one of the pieces into an almost transparent sheet, place around 1 tbsp of the filling, and roll into a roll as it is shown in the photo. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Optionally brush with some plant milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Step 8: Place your "varzare" in the oven and bake for around 25 minutes.



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