Ajvár

Ajvár is a Serbian sauce, but it becomes more and more popular in Hungary. It’s made from red pepper, aubergine and garlic, served with roasted meats, used to flavor salads or simply spread on a toast. The reason why I share its recipe is that it’s a perfect choice even for those who aren’t big fans of aubergine like me. I had been looking for a solution for several years how to prepare eggplant in an “edible” way before I finally hit upon ajvár. I must confess I love it. Its smoky, piquant taste completely enchanted me.

Ajvar_1photo: zserbo.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg (~2 1/4 lb) red pepper (sweet or hot – it’s up to you)
  • 1 kg (~2 1/4 lb) aubergine
  • 50 ml (~1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Thoroughly wash the eggplants and the peppers. In the hot oven or over the gas stove roast first the eggplants until they get soft and their skin burn black. Set aside.

Roast the peppers in the same way, as well. If they gets black, put them into a plastic pouch to let the steam loosen the skin, after that it will be easy to remove.

Peel both the aubergines and the peppers. Then stem the peppers and remove seeds.

Throw aubergines and peppers into a food processor to mash them until its consistency looks like a puree.

Pour the eggplant-pepper puree into a sauce pan, add olive oil and bring it to the boil while stiring continously.

Add salt, pepper, sugar and red wine vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes.

Finally blend the crushed garlic in the sauce. Turn off the heat.

Spoon the sauce into small jars, close the jars, stand them close together and cover with a blanket to let them cool completely (it takes 2-3 days) before they take their final places on the pantry shelf.

Ajvar_2photo: zserbo.com

In the end let me make a remark: everyone has the right to decide whether or not to use a preservative. If you don’t want to take the risk that your jams, bottled fruits or whatever get spoiled, then don’t hesitate to use it. But if you think that preservative is detrimental to health, forget it. In this case particular attention should be paid to hygiene and sterilization of the jars  in order to avoid complications. It’s your choice in which way you prepare your foods.

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