Macedonian Cuisine

Traditional national cuisine always attracts the attention of a traveler who wants to fill his own international voyage with impressions. The Republic of North Macedonia is a Balkan state, interesting for its distinctive culture and rich history. At the same time, it is a godsend for the inquisitive explorer of gastronomic attractions. Acquaintance with the cuisine of Macedonia will replenish the tourist’s luggage with unforgettable culinary experiences.

Macedonian cuisine attracts the attention of travelers.

Features of the national Macedonian cuisine

The natural conditions of the country and the traditional types of economic activities of the population determined the features of its national cuisine:

  1. Macedonian culinary recipes feature a rich assortment of local herbal ingredients. Due to the mild temperate subtropical climate, vegetables, fruits, herbs, etc. are successfully grown in Macedonia.
  2. The local cuisine menu is full of meat products made mainly from pork and lamb – traditional products of Macedonian cattle breeding.
  3. Macedonian culinary specialists actively use milk and milk products for cooking. The presence of vast pastures and meadows in ecologically clean areas allows the production of high quality dairy products.

The cuisine of Macedonia is also special for its diversity, which has developed due to the multinational composition of the population.

Culinary traditions

The needs and lifestyle of the local population, the influence of the countries of the Balkan Peninsula, the Mediterranean and the Middle East have formed the traditions of Macedonian cuisine:

  • national dishes are easy to prepare, nutritious, have a bright taste and color;
  • Macedonians traditionally eat large amounts of bread;
  • Spices and spices are widely used as ingredients in dishes.

Macedonian food is easy to prepare.

Serving and etiquette

Another tradition of Macedonian cuisine is the increased attention to culinary aesthetics. Serving dishes, decorating and serving tables have become the traditions of national gastronomy.

In some areas of Macedonia, where the population is predominantly Muslim, cafes and restaurants are opened separately for men and women.

Today, among the Macedonians, there is a decline in the popularity of traditional kafan – a local analogue of a bistro serving coffee, alcoholic drinks, light snacks, and live music. Western-style cafes are becoming more attractive.

Typical products and traditional dishes

The wide range of traditional Macedonian cuisine menus allows you to familiarize yourself in detail with the variety of local dishes, their ingredients and ways of serving.

Snacks

For the preparation of snacks in Macedonian cuisine, they mainly use vegetables, herbs, cheeses, and legumes.

Various vegetable purees are popular:

  • melizano – caviar made from bell pepper and eggplant;
  • Shopska salad – chopped, mixed and spiced bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onions and feta cheese.

Bell pepper and eggplant puree is popular.

Soups

Guests of Macedonia will find a large selection of hot and cold soups on the menu of cafes and restaurants, such as:

  • tarator – cold soup made from cucumbers, garlic, walnuts, dill, vegetable oil, water and yogurt, which can be replaced with vinegar;
  • chorba ot kopriva is a traditional cream soup made from nettle.

Meat

Among the national Macedonian food, the gastro-tourist will be especially interested in meat dishes:

  • burek – a multilayer pie with pork and cheese, baked with onions, garlic and spices;
  • Selsko meso is a dish prepared in a clay pot from pork and ground beef with the addition of vegetables, mushrooms and spices.

Burek is a national pork and cheese pie.

A fish

The traditional source of fish resources for Macedonian cuisine is Lake Ohrid. From the Ohrid trout caught in the lake, they prepare a popular dish – fish in a clay pot, seasoned with a sauce of vegetable oil, eggs, herbs and garlic.

Milk

The menu of North Macedonian cuisine traditionally includes dishes from milk and dairy products:

  • kaymak is a fermented milk product made from fatty milk and used as a snack or an ingredient in other products;
  • Macedonian cheeses such as Kaskaval hard cheese or brine siren.

Macedonian cuisine includes hard cheeses.

Spices

Macedonian culinary experts widely use spices and herbs in the preparation of traditional dishes.

Among them are black, allspice, green sweet and red peppers, paprika, rosemary, basil, saffron, etc.

desserts

Traditional delicacies make up the dessert part of Macedonian gastronomy:

  • sutliash – rice pudding cooked in milk with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon;
  • bugatsa – a puff pastry stuffed with fruit and custard;
  • lukumades – fried yeast donuts, greased with honey and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Beverages

These include:

  1. Coffee. Macedonians drink it with sugar and cream, not only in the morning, but also during the day.
  2. Tea. In Macedonia, it is often accompanied by honey.
  3. Freshly squeezed juices and other fruit drinks. The national cuisine of Macedonia is rich in fruits, abundantly supplied by local gardeners.
  4. Guilt. White is usually consumed in summer, red – in winter. Among Macedonians and tourists, wines made from grapes from the Tikves valley are popular.
  5. Rakia is a traditional Macedonian spirits. For its production, grapes, plums, apricots, etc. are used. Depending on the color, brandy is subdivided into white and yellow. Salads or white cheese are served as an appetizer.

Must-sees in Macedonia

For a practical study of the national gastronomy of North Macedonia, the traveler should taste the popular dishes of the traditional cuisine of the country.

Kuhane

Fruit dessert is simple and tasty.

Thin apple rings are fried in batter made from flour and cream, beaten with egg, sugar and cinnamon. Fried rings are rolled in them.

Kuhane is prepared from fresh apples.

Macedonian bell pepper

Red bell peppers, cut lengthwise and peeled from seeds, are greased with olive oil and baked wrapped in foil in the oven. The baked vegetable is cooled, peeled and poured with a marinade made from wine vinegar, water, olive oil, finely chopped garlic, sugar and salt.

The dish can be served as a cold appetizer or as a side dish for meat products.

Tuna vegetable salad

Atypical for Macedonian cuisine, tuna with typical vegetables and herbs is a hearty and healthy meal.

The tuna, removed from the tin, is placed on a plate covered with torn iceberg lettuce leaves. The fish is covered with a mix of finely chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, olives cut in half are added to it and cooled. After that, pour in a dressing from a whipped mixture of vegetable oil and balsamic vinegar.

Couscous with pumpkin and dried fruits

Macedonian couscous is an example of the diversity of this country’s cuisine.

Couscous with pumpkin and dried fruits provides energy for the whole day.

Grits are poured into freshly prepared pumpkin puree, boiled for 30-40 minutes and soaked dried fruits are added to it. After keeping on medium heat for a short time, the mixture is seasoned with oil and served on the table as a dessert or main course.

Hearty Ohrid Toast

The cuisine of the Macedonian Ohrid offers not only fish dishes prepared from the gifts of the lake of the same name. Ohrid toast with a cup of coffee is a simple and nutritious breakfast.

Cheese is placed on toasted toast, heated in a microwave oven and mashed with avocado puree. Eggs fried without butter are sent on top of the sandwich. Toasts are sprinkled with herbs and served on the morning table.

Aivar

The culinary pride of Macedonia is made from red peppers, which, after baking, are peeled from seeds and peels, ground and fried over low heat. Vegetable caviar is served as a side dish for meat dishes.

Aivar is made from red peppers.

It is said that real ajvar can only be prepared at home, carefully peeling the pepper by hand.

Tavce gravce

“Beans in a Frying Pan” is the translation of the name of this dish.

Soaked and boiled beans are stewed with butter, vegetables, flour and spices, served with sheep’s cheese or feta.

To prepare tavce gravce, Macedonian chefs use fresh white beans grown in the north-west of the country, in Tetovo.

Chorba from veal

Thick hot soup served at the daily dinner table.

Veal Chorba is a daily lunch soup.

The dish is prepared from soaked beans, cooked with veal. In the process, diced potatoes, fried onions and carrots, salt and pepper are added to the soup.

The prepared soup is immediately poured into bowls and served.

Homemade recipes

The simple recipe and the availability of ingredients make traditional North Macedonian cuisine available for home cooking.

Macedonian salad

Cooking sequence:

  • Divide cauliflower into parts and boil in salted water;
  • cut the bean pods into diamonds, carrots – into circles, sweet green peppers – into strips;
  • boil the cut vegetables separately and put them in a colander;
  • fresh cucumbers, peel and cut into circles, onions – into strips;
  • all cooked vegetables mix, salt, pepper and season with a mixture of olive oil, sugar and prepared mustard.

Macedonian salad is very easy to prepare.

Put the prepared dish on lettuce leaves and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.

Sarma

Analogue of stuffed cabbage and dolma. To wrap minced meat in it, cooks use sauerkraut or grape leaves. In this case, cabbage is recommended to be pre-soaked to remove excess acid and salt.

Ingredients:

  • leaves of grapes or sauerkraut;
  • smoked bacon – 250 g;
  • smoked pork ribs – 8-10 pcs.;
  • minced pork and beef – 900 g;
  • boiled rice – 1.5 tbsp.;
  • paprika – 2 tablespoons;
  • spices: bay leaf, black pepper, salt.

Sarma is an analogue of stuffed cabbage.

Cooking procedure:

  • prepare sauerkraut or grape leaves (optional);
  • finely chop and fry the onions;
  • add bacon and sweet paprika (1 tablespoon) to a pan with fried onions;
  • add minced pork and beef to lightly fried bacon, pepper and salt;
  • add boiled rice to the finished meat, mix and remove from heat;
  • line the bottom of the cast-iron pan with cabbage (or grape) leaves, put 2-3 smoked ribs on top of the leaves;
  • put the filling in a leaf of cabbage (grapes), roll it up like a cabbage roll and put it on the ribs in a saucepan;
  • roll the sarma in a similar way and lay tightly in layers in a saucepan;
  • Shift the layers with ribs, sprinkling them with a small amount of paprika;
  • cover the top layer with cabbage (grape) leaves;
  • fill a saucepan with water, bring it to a boil and simmer the mixture over low heat for 3-4 hours.

The readiness of the sarma is determined by the state of the upper leaves: they should become almost transparent.

The finished dish is served hot in a deep plate with pieces of smoked meat cooked with sarma.

Shish kebab (ralenichi)

Ingredients:

  • meat: pork – 500 g, veal – 300 g;
  • smoked lard – 100 g;
  • onions – 200 g;
  • spices: salt, ground black pepper.

Cooking procedure:

  • cut the meat into pieces of 40-50 g, beat off a little, pepper;
  • thinly cut the smoked bacon;
  • cut the onions into large rings;
  • mix and salt meat, bacon and onions;
  • string on skewers alternately pieces of pork, veal, bacon and onion circles;
  • fry on the grill, sprinkling the meat with water.

Shish kebab is served hot on skewers with fresh vegetables and herbs.