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 eggplant 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.
- 1 kg (~2 1/4 lbs) red peppers (sweet or hot – it’s up to you)
- 1 kg (~2 1/4 lbs) eggplants
- 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 eggplants and peppers. In the hot oven or over the gas stove roast 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 eggplants and peppers. Then stem the peppers and remove seeds.
Throw eggplants 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 a boil while stiring continously. Add salt, pepper, sugar and red wine vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes. Finally, stir the crushed garlic into the sauce. Turn off the heat.
Spoon the sauce into small jars, seal the jars, stand them close together in a box 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.
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, 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.