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Romanian Sour Cabbage Soup Recipe - Ciorba de Varza


Romanian Cabbage Ciorba or Sour Soup

Romanian Cabbage Ciorba or Sour Soup

© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Romanian sour cabbage soup or ciorbă de varză (CHORR-buh deh VARR-zuh) is one of the sour soups Romanians love. Its name comes from the Turkish word for soup -- çorba. The souring agent for ciorbe (plural of ciorbă) is usually sauerkraut juice, lemon juice, vinegar, sour grape leaves or green sorrel leaves. When a sour base made of fermented wheat bran called borş is used, the sour soup is called a borş, not a ciorbă. Soups that are not soured are known as supă in Romanian. Reserve sauerkraut juice from Romanian braised sauerkraut for this recipe.

Another sour soup to try is Romanian Meatball Soup.

Here is a larger photo of Romanian Cabbage Ciorba.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings Cabbage Ciorba


  • 8 ounces sliced bacon
  • 2 large chopped onions
  • 2 large peeled and sliced carrots
  • 2 stemmed, seeded and chopped red peppers
  • 1 large cored and sliced cabbage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup sauerkraut juice
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Vinegar to taste (optional)


  1. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, saute bacon, onion, carrots and peppers until onions are translucent. Add cabbage, salt and pepper, dill, stock and sauerkraut juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.

  2. Beat egg yolks with sour cream. Temper the sour cream mixture with a few ladles of hot soup. Whisk tempered sour cream into soup. Return to heat and simmer, stirring continuously, until soup has thickened slightly. Adjust seasonings. If a more sour soup is desired, add 1 or more tablespoons vinegar to soup.
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