Sinjski Arambaši Recipe

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Post author Vedran

Written by our local expert Vedran

Vedran is a total food lover from Croatia. He creates recipes from his kitchen in Zagreb using fresh produce from his garden.

The most famous dish from Sinj cuisine is also protected as an item on the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage List. 

This is another Croatian food that has its origins from Turkey. Most people are familiar with a dish called sarma, and this is one variety of it, but it is very much different.

In this case, you do not mince the meat but, instead, cut it with a knife. You also don’t use rice or any other grain as you do with sarma, and in Sinjski Arambaši, you place several different spices that are not so typical in salty dishes, as I have said, almost the same but totally different.

Croatian Cooking_Sinjski Arambasi Recipe_Sinj Cabbage Rolls


It is believed that this dish originally came to Sinj from the Turks during the period of the Turkish empire. The people of Sinj changed the dish by adjusting the recipe to their tastes and gave it a new name.

The name of this Croatian meal probably originated from the name of harambaša, leader of the army, since the rolls were arranged in clay pots like little soldiers. Sinjski arambaši make one of the most important festive dishes to be enjoyed at all of the big occasions – like Easter, Christmas, Assumption of Mary, and it’s prepared in bulk during August when the Sinjska Alka is performed. 

Sinjski Arambaši-style stuffed cabbage with sausage and mashed potatoes.

Sinjski Arambaši Recipe

The most famous dish from Sinj cuisine is this Sinjski Arambaši recipe, and it's protected as an item on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Here is an easy to make it.


  • 700 g beef neck (no bone) (1.5 lbs)
  • 300 g pork loin (10 oz)
  • 150 g špec or smoked bacon (5.2 oz)
  • 2 red onions
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (or more if you love it)
  • 2-3 cloves
  • Nutmeg - either use fresh (2-3 gratings) or 1/4 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1  pickled cabbage head
  • Several kransky sausages (2-4)
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Smoked and cured meat


  1. Using a very sharp knife, chop the meat very fine (both the beef and pork)
  2. In a bowl mix the red onions, 3-4 cloves of garlic, smoked bacon and the parsley. Add the spices and the grated peel of a lemon and leave it for an hour in the refrigerator
  3. This amount of meat will be enough for around 20-25 “arambaša” so prepare the same number of pickled cabbage leaves. If the cabbage is too salty, feel free to wash it under the cold water to remove the excess salt
  4. Cut the rest of cabbage head in smaller pieces and add half of them to the bottom of the pot you plan to cook in
  5. Make the rolls, by taking a spoonful of the mixture and adding it to the center of the cabbage leaf. Then roll the leaf as shown in the pictures on the blog post. Continue wrapping up the mixture of meat and spices in sour cabbage leaves until you have rolled them all
  6. Place the rolls in the pot and cover them with a second portion of sliced cabbage
  7. Add the smoked and cured meat together with the sausages and pour in enough water to cover the rolls
  8. Simmer for around 2 hours
  9. Serve with mashed potatoes while still hot

Tasty Croatian And Balkan Recipes & Cooking Tips


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