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Friday, 12 September 2014

As I've promised: AJVAR (say: what?!)

Hello there.

Pardon my radio-silence. There is too many things going on, and the days are completely filled with events.. so, once I do get home, I'm too exausted to turn on the PC and write.
However, once I promise something, I keep it.

The winning jar of goodnes.

This Wednesday, as you were reading my Burda magazine pages, I was coordinating a joyful and tasty day of cook-off (Serbian way). We have hosted AJVAR competition.
What is ajvar? 
Ajvar is a type of relish, made principally from red bell peppers, with garlic. But, there is more to it. I dare say: every single home has their own recipe. For generations, we all clainm that ours is the best one (I have heard it countles times, since I was a kid "My grandma makes the BEST ajvar, ever!"). So, only naturaly, we have decided to put those recipes to the test.
It was an amazing experience, since all the steps of the preparation were done in the open, in the central park of my town. 

Top picture: the winners
Bottom left: third place. Bottom right: second place (my co-workers!) :)

I have also promissed you another thing: the recipe. 

The long red sweet peppers being roasted.
Best way to do it - on and old stove.

Let's go.
You will need (first of all) a bit of time and a bit of patience.
10 kilograms of long red bell pepper
10 mid-sized eggplants
1 litar of oil (vegetable oil, do not use olive oil, it has too much taste)
1. Roast the peppers until the skin becomes black. Peal the skin off, remove the seeds. 
2. Roast the eggplants, peal and clean well.
3. Leave over night, so that some of the moist evaporates
4. If you have a meat-grinding machine, use it to grind the peppers and the eggplants. If you do not have it, feel free to use your blender.
5. In a large (large!) metal saucepan pour half of litar of oil and warm to boil, then add your grinded peppers and eggplants.
6. While you are cooking it stirr all the time. Add more oil, if you need it (some eggplants are too dry and need more oil, and sometimes you don't need to add more). Add salt according to your liking.
7. When you're stirring, pay attention to the bottom of your saucepan. Once you see that your wooden spoon is leaving the trail and that the mixture is taking more time to fill the space.. you're 15 minutes away from the end. :)
8. Pour into jars while it's hot.

THIS is the "mild" version recipe. You are free to grind up two chilly peppers together with your sweet peppers, and make your ajvar spicy (some folk even add finely chopped parsnip) - as I've said before: every home has it's own recipe

Have you ever tried it out?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't, though it's not a million miles away from recipes that I've had by way of my Russian relatives and also sourced from Mediterranean cookbooks over the years. It sounds fabulously tasty and I will certainly be whipping up a batch the next time someone with a garden gives me a slew of peppers or eggplants. Thank you for sharing this wonderful culinary cornerstone of your nation's cuisine with us, dear Marija. It really sounds mouthwatering!

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica