Serbian cuisine

Serbian food is characterised not only of elements from Serbia, but of elements from the former-Yugoslavia as a whole. Peasantry has greatly influenced the cooking process. During the centuries under Ottoman rule, the Balkans were influenced by the rich oriental cuisine and some of the most traditional Serbian dishes have common roots with those of Greece and Turkey. Centuries of Austrian and Austro-Hungarian rule richly influenced Serbian cuisine, especially Serbian desserts.


Ajvar – Roasted Eggplant Pepper Spread

Ajvar is a Serbian roasted eggplant-capsicum mixture, sometimes referred to as vegetarian caviar. It can be mashed or left chunky, depending on personal taste, and served as a relish, vegetable or spread on country-style white bread like pogacha as an appetiser. Its smoky flavour is a great match for grilled or roasted meats, especially lamb.

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Bundevara – Serbian Pumpkin Pie

Bundevara is a common Serbian sweet pie made with grated pumpkin and filo pastry. A number of Serbian pies are made with filo, called “kore” in Serbian language. A common Serbian pie not made with phyllo is called štrudla. To add to the confusion, it is not similar to strudel, but rather to the nut roll.

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Krofne – Doughnuts with Jam

Croatian krafne or pokladnice, Bosnian (krofne), Serbian (krofne) and Slovenian (krof) are filled doughnuts. They are round and usually filled with jelly, marmalade, jam or chocolate. They can also be filled with custard, or cream, but that is usually less common.

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Makovnjača – Poppy Seed Roll

A Serbian pie could, in general, be named in two ways: according to its mode of preparation, or according to its filling (although not every pie is prepared with every filling). For example, a Bundevara is a pie filled with pumpkin and could refer to either a savijača (made of rolled filo) or a štrudla (made of rolled dough). Both sweet and salty pies are made, and some pies could be prepared in the same way with either sweet or salty filling.

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Pogacha Bread

Pogacha is a white bread claimed by Serbians, Croatians and Macedonians. It is similar to Italian Vienna bread in texture and flavour and there are as many recipes for it as there are shapes. This one-rise recipe produces a round loaf.

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Serbian Lenten Pogacha Bread

This recipe for Serbian Lenten pogacha, also known as pogaca, uses no eggs, milk or butter, so it is perfect for a fasting meal, like the period before Easter and during Advent.

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Serbian Pljeskavica Hamburgers

Pljeskavica are Serbian hamburgers popular in one form or another throughout the Balkans. The name for these meat patties comes from pljesak, a word meaning “to clap the hands,” the motion used to form these thin, large burgers. They can be made with any combination of pork, lamb and beef and can be grilled, broiled, baked or pan fried, although grilling is traditional.

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Slatko Lubenice – Serbian Sweet Watermelon Rind

These watermelon preserves from Serbia use only the white rind of the watermelon, and a good slatko should contain whole chunks of fruit so don’t cook this to a mushy consistency.

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Štrudla sa Orasima – Serbian Walnut Strudel

A number of Serbian pies are made with phyllo, called “kore” in Serbian language. A common Serbian pie not made with phyllo is called “štrudla”. To add to the confusion, it is not similar to strudel, but rather to the nut roll. Most commonly you would see two dominant varieties, sometimes made in pairs: Makovnjača (with poppy seeds) and Štrudla s orasima (with walnuts).

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Torshi Liteh – Eggplant and Herb Pickle

Torshi liteh is made with eggplants and herbs (parsley, coriander, mint, tarragon, basil). Eggplants are baked in the oven, put in a glass jar with herbs and vinegar, and stored in a cool, dry place for two to three months.

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Urnebes – Serbian Pandemonium Salad

Urnebes is a salad characteristic of Serbian cuisine, originated in southern Serbia and is usually served as a side dish with barbecue. It should be very spicy, however you can adjust the quantities to suit your own taste.

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