The most delicious, the most difficult to prepare, but the favorite winter preserve Ajvar is part of every home and every table in Macedonia. Hot or cold, spread on bread with or without white cheese, it makes the mouth and the young and the old red.
Needed ingredients: 20 kg. red peppers – Kurtovska Kapija, 2 kg. eggplants, 1 l. of oil, 1 spoon of sugar, Salt
Preparation method: The peppers and eggplants are washed and dried, their handles removed and the peppers are cleaned from seeds. Then baked on a stove or grilled. Once cooked, peppers and eggplant are placed in plastic bags for easier peeling. Carefully peeled and cleaned from the rest of the seeds they are placed in mash like bags to drain overnight. The next day the peppers and eggplants are grinded in a machine for meat. The mixture is placed in a pot and fried until the liquid has evaporated, during which oil is added and it is fried for a few hours with a constant stirring to achieve a density of marmalade. Before the end of the frying process add salt to taste and mix well. The warm ajvar is placed in hot jars and closed.
The baklava is a specialty that adorns the table of every Christian family during Christmas Eve dinner. The baklava is also the major dish in the Islamic feast of Ramadan Bairam when the guests are treated and were once part of any family celebration or a Feast day of a Saint.
Needed ingredients: For the dough: 1 kg filo for baklava, 500 g walnuts- chopped, 200 g semolina, 150 ml oil. For the sorbet: 2 kg sugar, 1 l water, 2 bags of vanilla sugar, 1 lemon.
Preparation method: The nuts are chopped. The semolina is fried with the vanilla sugar. Prepare round tin with No. 36. Spray with oil and place the filo pastry on top of one another. On each filo sheet, put oil and semolina, and every second sheet put oil, semolina, and nuts. The last few layers are left without nuts. Once you lay down all the filo sheets, cut them in the form of diamond or baklava. The baklava covered with aluminum foil and baked in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour. The foil is removed after 30 minutes of baking. After baking, the baklava is left to cool. The sorbet is prepared with 2 kg of sugar and 1 liter of water. Add vanilla sugar to the mixture and by the end, cut circles of lemon. The sorbet is ready when it starts to create foam. When the baklava is fully chilled the hot sorbet is poured over it and put aside to chill before serving it.
Banica is the type of food that is most often consumed as a daily meal for breakfast, but it is also found on the table as traditionally prepared food on holidays, such as Forgiveness Day, All Souls' Day, etc. It can be prepared in different ways, with rolled or finished layers with cheese or podvara (cottage cheese).
Needed ingredients: 600-700 g flour, 250-300 ml luke, warm water, 3 eggs, 1 yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, oil, 500 g cheese (for filling).
Preparation method: Yeast is put in a bowl with a little water, salt and sugar are added and mixed until the ingredients become melted. In a deeper bowl flour is put together with yeast, water, and mixed eggs are added and the dough is kneaded. The dough is nicely kneaded until it becomes smooth and it is left covered with a towel, for about an hour to reach. The reached dough is divided into 5 balls. Each ball of dough is being rolled on a floured background and sprayed with a little oil and chopped cheese and then rolled in scrolls. Crusts are lined up like a snail, starting from the middle of the round and covered with oil casserole with no.30. Each new rolled crust is spirally arranged around the last crust. Such a prepared banica is covered and left to reach about half an hour. Reached banica is sprayed with a little oil and baked in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes.
The speciality carp pan is characteristic for the Dojran region. It is one of the offered rich recipes and part of the heritage and tradition of this region.
Needed ingredients: 1 of 2 kg carp, 2 kg onions, 3-4 tomatoes, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon red pepper, oil, parsley, salt, black pepper.
Preparation method: Carp is cleaned, washed and cut into slices or truffles, and then is salted. Onions are cleaned, minced and fried in a pan with oil until it gets a pinkish color. Tomatoes are cut into small pieces and fried with the onions for 5 to 10 minutes. Salt, black pepper and chopped parsley are added. Fried ingredients are put in casserole no. 36 and pieces of carp are lined up over it, then with a strainer are sanded with flour, then with paprika and at the end, each piece of fish is sprinkled with a little oil. A little boiling water is added in the casserole, as needed for onions to sprinkle, then the pan is poured to bake at 250 degrees for about 1 hour or until the pieces of fish get a fine red color.
Churek or unleavened cake is sweet bread that is prepared for many religious and family rituals. The custom of breaking the churek for “armas” is the most ceremonious ancient Macedonian tradition, which today is an inevitable ritual during the engagement between Macedonians. The churek is mixed and decorated in different ways, depending on the imagination and the creativity of the one who does the ritual for which it is intended. If it is grease churek is being kneaded with eggs and milk, and if it is fasting - it is being kneaded lean.
Needed ingredients: 800 gr. flour; 150ml. milk; 200 ml. edible oil; 3 eggs; 1 yeast, 1 vanilla, sugar; 2 tablespoons sugar; 1 orange; 200 gr. raisins; margarine; salt.
Preparation method: Orange rind is grated and juice is drained and immersed raisins are stained with it. The yeast is kneaded with milk, butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, a little salt and a little flour and it is left to reach for ten minutes. Then the orange juice and the rest of the flour are added and soft dough is kneaded. Raisins are added and finely kneaded. The dough is covered with a towel and left to rich for about an hour. How the look of the churek will be further shaped, it depends of the ritual and the creativity. It can be done in the form of a braid, in the form of flower, sun cross, decorations with flowers on the top, etc.. Shaped churek is coated with egg and margarine, and white sesame seeds and poppy can be added. Churek is left to reach in the casserole and it is baked for 30 minutes at 200 degrees and for more 20 minutes at 150 degrees. Once is cooked it is being left in hot oven for more ten minutes.
Gjomleze is an old traditional Ohrid recipe, prepared for more than 3 hours. If somebody invites you and prepares gjomleze for you, it means you are respected and appreciated guest at their place.
Needed ingredients: 3.500 g flour, 4 l lukewarm water, 1 handful of salt, 500 ml oil
Preparation method: In a deep bowl, flour, water, and salt are put and it is all mixed to make a porridge, homogeneous mixture as for making pancakes. The “sach” is being heated on strong fire. Two saches are needed for faster preparation of this specialty. The pan is covered with oil and two scoops from the porridge are put in it and are put on the oven for around 5 to 6 minutes. The baked crust is sprayed with oil, and then two scoops are again put and covered with sach. This is repeated until the porridge is wasted (around 20 crusts). When the last crust is baked, the gjomleze is being cut in the form of baklava and it is being sprayed with oil. The pan with gjomleze is put on fire and left covered under sach for 30 minutes.
Letna Mandza (Summer Meal)
This starter, characteristic for the region of Strumica, is often prepared during the summer period, which is the season of peppers and tomatoes. It can be served hot or cold, combined with cheese and home-made bread.
Needed ingredients: 500 g of tomatoes (“frenki”), 500 g of peppers (“chushki”), 20 ml of oil, parsley, salt
Preparation method: The peppers and tomatoes are chopped into small pieces. First, the peppers are fried in a cooking pan with a pre-heated oil. Once the peppers are fired, the finely chopped tomatoes are added. The tomato juice released by the tomatoes is fried until the juice is smooth and thickened. Just before it is done, salt and the finely chopped parsley are added.
Mixed salad is made from many kinds of vegetables and is usually present in the menus of the Macedonian traditional restaurants.
Needed ingredients: 2 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 2 carrots, 2 slices of cheese, 2 radishes, ½ beetroot, ¼ cabbage, olive, oil, salt.
Preparation method: The cucumbers are cut into thin slices, tomatoes are cut into four pieces, carrots and beets are grated, cabbage is chopped and radishes are cut in thin circles. All ingredients are arranged in an oval plate according to their own wish. Salt is added and edible oil is sprayed according to taste.
Moussaka is food that is prepared from minced meat, usually pork and minced beef and potatoes. In Macedonian cuisine, this dish today can be found cooked in different ways and with different ingredients, but we have provided the traditional way in which our grandmothers have prepared the moussaka.
Needed ingredients: 1 kg potatoes, - ½ kg minced meat, 1 head of onion, 3 eggs, 300 ml milk, oil, oregano, salt, black pepper.
Preparation method: The potatoes are peeled and cut into circles with a thickness of about half an inch. Onion is finely diced and it is fried in a pan with oil. Over the fried onion are added minced meat, salt, black pepper, and a little oregano, and it is stirred and fried. In oiled, medium size tin, are being arranged one-row potatoes and one row minced meat. Minced meat is covered with another row of potatoes and poured with mixed and salted eggs with milk. Moussaka is baked in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 40 minutes.
Ohridsko makalo (Ohrid Garlic Dip)
Ohridsko makalo is a very delicious dip prepared from garlic. It is served as an appetizer, in combination with different traditional food.
Needed ingredients: whole garlic, wine vinegar, oil and salt.
Preparation method: The garlic is cleaned up and put in a pestle and mortar. A little bit of wine vinegar is added and ground until getting a smooth paste. After that, salt is added and the mixture is mixed, by adding the oil drop by drop. The secret of getting a fine mayonnaise-like paste is in adding the oil drop by drop, constantly mixing. It should take about 100 ml of oil for this amount of garlic. Finally, there will be a fine white paste that is a nice addition for all kinds of meat.
Pacha (Meet Jelly)
Pacha is food which is usually prepared in winter. It requires relatively long time to prepare, but when it is ready for consumption the cold morsels are rich in flavor, especially when accompanied by a good cup of grape brandy. The pacha is cut into cubes and it is served as a starter or appetizer.
Needed ingredients: 1 kg of pig feet, 300 g boneless pork, 5-6 cloves of garlic, 1 onion bulb, black pepper (whole), bay leaf, salt.
Preparation metod: The pigs’ feet and boneless pork are washed and placed in a pot with cold water and boiled on a moderate fire for about 5 hours. Initially, once the water gets warm, foam appears and it should be removed. Once the foaming stops, salt, black pepper, bay leaf, chopped onion and half of the garlic are added. Once half of the water has evaporated, use fork to check if the meat is ready. If the meat separates from the bone by itself, it means it’s done. The meat is cut into small pieces, and the meat from the feet needs to separate from the bone and shred them into small pieces. The water from the pot is left to cool down, and it is poured through a strainer while using spoon to collect the detached fats that collect on the surface. The remaining cloves of garlic are finely chopped or crushed and added to the broth. The meat is then placed in a larger or smaller plates and the broth is poured over it. Leave the plates with pacha to cool down and the broth to become jell.
Ravanlija is a lite dessert with sorbet which can be found on the menu of any restaurant in southeastern Macedonia.
For the dough: 3 eggs, 12 spoons of sugar, 12 spoons of ground/crushed walnuts, 12 spoons of cooking oil, 12 spoons of milk, 12 spoons of semolina, 12 spoons of flour, 1 baking powder.
For the sorbet: 3 cups of water, 3 cups of sugar, 1 vanilla sugar, lemon juice.
Mix the eggs and sugar throughout with a mixer. Add the milk and cooking oil and mix them some more. Then gradually add mixture of semolina, nuts, flour and the baking powder. Mix well until the mass gets consistent. The dough is placed on an oiled baking pan no.28 and is baked for about 25 min. at 180 degrees. The sorbet is made by adding water and sugar in a pot until they boil. Finally, vanilla sugar and little lemon juice are added. Once chilled and cut into cubes, pour the sorbet over it.
Traditional, delicious and easy combination of several types of vegetables sprinkled with grated white cheese gives the irreplaceable taste of the Shopska salad, which is often present on every Macedonian table, as appetizers and accompanied by a glass of homemade brandy.
Needed ingredients: 1 green pepper, 1 onion bulb, 2 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 200 gr. white sheep cheese, Cooking oil, Salt.
Preparation method: Peel the cucumbers and together with the tomatoes cut them into cubes. Finely dice the onion and the pepper in circles. All the vegetables are placed in a deeper pot and add cooking oil and salt to taste. Once the ingredients are mixed, add grated white cheese on top
Beans in a skillet is a traditional Macedonian dish and a part of the family tradition dinner table, every Friday.
Needed ingredients: 500 gr. beans, 1 head onion , 1 dry pepper, 2 tea spoons red pepper , Oil for cooking, Bay leaf , salt, Black pepper.
Preparation method: The beans is cleaned and immersed in cold water to stand for 3 hours. Then wash and put it in a pot to boil. Once boiled, the water sheds and pour fresh water with onion, bay leaf and black pepper in it. When the beans will soften, in a pan with oil, fry the onions with red pepper. Roux is added to the beans after what add salt and pepper and bake in an earthenware pot at a temperature of 220 degrees until the water evaporates.
Rise with chicken
Rise with chicken is an old traditional recipe that is prepared in every home in Macedonia and gathered families on a festive table on Sunday. This dish, in south-eastern Macedonia, can often be found and prepared for the Islamic holiday Ramadan Bajram.
Needed ingredients: Half chicken; 400 g of rice; 1-2 heads onions; dried vegetables (mixed spice “Vegeta”),
salt; black pepper.
Preparation method: Wash the half chicken meat and put it to boil. Once the water boils, change it with clean hot water and leave it to boil. When the meat is already cooked in water, we put salt and “Vegeta”, and it can proceed with preparing the rice. Cut the onion finely and fry it in a pan with a little oil until it gets a golden color. Wash the rice, it is estimated, add to the fried onion, and fry it together for a few minutes stirring constantly. Pour the rice in casserole no. 26, in which it will be baked and Saale with water in which the meat is cooked. The casserole with rice is left to boil at a moderate fire and add water if it is necessary. After 5 - 10 minutes, when the rice is almost ready, we put the meat from the boiled chicken on it. On top of it, we put black pepper and bake in a pre-heated oven, on 200 degrees, about 20 minutes.
Sarma with cabbage leaves
For any village celebration, Feast day of a Saint and/or a Memorial Day, the sarma with cabbage leaves is a mandatory food. During the winter period, it is made with cabbage in brine, and in summer with fresh cabbage, rice, and minced or finely chopped meat.
Needed ingredients: 1 cabbage, 500 g of rice, 400 g ground meat, 1 hot pepper, 1 onion bulb, oil, salt, vinegar, black pepper.
Preparation method: The cabbage is removed from the stub and placed in a pot of boiling water to which salt and vinegar are added. The cabbage is left to stay in the water until it softens, about 20 minutes. Finely chop the onion and fry it in a pan with oil. The fried onion is added to the minced meat, and once fried add the washed rice, add salt and black pepper and fry it for an additional few minutes. When the cabbage is already soft, each sheet is removed from the hard part which is closer to the stub. Place several big leaves of cabbage and hot pepper on the bottom of the pot after it is oiled. In each leaf of cabbage put the mixture and wrap it. Place the sarma wraps in the pot and pour hot water in which salt and vinegar are added. Boil the sarma on a moderate fire, covered, for about 2 hours.
This Gevgelija speciality is prepared for Easter holidays and the holiday of St. George, where lamb is part of the festive table for many families.
Needed ingredients: 1 kg mutton; 120 g fat; 300 g tomatoes; 1 head of onion; 1 bunch of parsley; 3 eggplants; 3 cloves of garlic; 100 g flour; 10 olives; salt; black pepper.
Preparation method: The meat is washed with water, dried with kitchen paper and cut into 4 pieces. Each piece is messed in flour and put to fry in hot fat. When frying the meat, water is added 5-6 times until it's done. Onion is cut and fried in a pan with a little fat. Eggplant is added, peeled and sliced in tiny cubes before. After a little frying, peeled and finely sliced tomatoes are added. It is fried for a little and cut garlic and parsley are added, salt is added and pepper is poured. The seeds are removed from the olives and they are cut into 4 pieces. Meat is poured with sauce from vegetables and olives are lined up on the top. It is placed on a moderate fire to boil for another 10 minutes, after which it can be served.
Veal stew is one of the favorite dishes that people order in the mornings in the restaurants in the South-east of Macedonia. This soup is delicious and refreshing and it is considered as one of the healthiest foods prepared at home.
Needed ingredients: 300 g veal lean, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons oil, 30 g butter, 100 g cream, parsley, salt, black pepper
Preparation method: The onion is cut into small pieces, salt is added and it is put into a pot. In a bowl over low heat, the oil with the butter is put and boiled until it gets melted. Cut meat into cubes is added into the pot along with the butter, salt and a cup of water, and it is let to boil covered with a lid over very low heat for about an hour and a half. This mixture is stirred occasionally and water is added if necessary. Once the meat is ready, finely chopped carrots are added and they are boiled together for another twenty minutes after which 1.5 to 2 liters of water is added into the mixture. Once the water is boiled it should be boiled for another 10 minutes. Veal stew is dragged from the fire and in a separate bowl, sour cream with egg yolk and little water from the stew are mixed and along with the fine-cut parsley are added into the stew.