Features of national Serbian cuisine
The main distinguishing feature of Serbian gastronomy is a large number of meat dishes. Vegetarian dishes in local cooking are few, since the meat component is mandatory in many snacks, soups, etc.
In different regions of the country, due to the presence or absence of the necessary ingredients and the influence of the cuisines of neighboring countries, the menu may vary greatly. For example, in the northern part of Serbia, Hungarian dumplings and paprikash are popular, in the southern regions – Turkish baklava and tulumba, in Belgrade residents prefer schnitzel Karađorđević.
Serbs treat bread with piety. Many housewives bake it on their own, and from stale cakes and rolls they dry crackers and boil kvass. Common in Serbia are pies for every taste: salty, sweet, with and without filling.
Tribes of Serbs settled in the country in the VI century Their diet included cereals, vegetables, dairy and meat dishes, which were seasoned with pepper and parsley. Trading and fighting with neighbors, the inhabitants of Serbia got acquainted with their characteristics and culture. The first culinary borrowings were recipes for Bulgarian vegetable salads and methods of heat treatment of products before cooking.
By the XIV century. the menu changed, preference was then given to dairy products and vegetables, game was consumed from meat. Later, after the conquest by the Turks and joining the Ottoman Empire, Serbian cuisine borrowed recipes for oriental dishes. There were dishes from lamb, meatballs, pita, Turkish sweets.
In 1907, the first edition of Serbian cooking “Pata’s Cookbook” was published. The recipes described in it are used almost unchanged now.
“Pata’s Cookbook” will help everyone to master the ancient secrets of cooking Serbian dishes.
Secrets of cooking
There are few delights in Serbian gastronomy, but local cooks use cooking techniques to give their works an original taste and smell.
Meat and fish in Serbia are fried on an open fire, and hazel or cherry branches are often put as firewood. Burning, they impregnate meat fibers with aromas and change their structure to a more delicate one. With this method of frying, you can not add seasonings and spices. To achieve a pleasant taste and smell helps clean air, saturated with minerals and salts.
In Serbia, holodets is common, but according to local culinary traditions, jelly in it is several times less than meat. They use a dish with hot red pepper – horseradish or mustard as a seasoning, the Serbs do not use. But they willingly eat jelly with aivar.
Typical products and traditional dishes
One of the pleasant ways to feel some of the authentic Serbian culture is to get acquainted with the local gastronomy.
Hot liquid dishes in Serbian cooking are divided into 2 large groups:
- Soup is a broth with boiled meat, potatoes, carrots, to which other ingredients are added.
- Chorba is a thick soup with a mixture of butter and flour. It is subjected to heat treatment before adding. This component is a thickener and gives the dish satiety.
Broths for Serbian soups are cooked only meat – vegetable and mushroom local cooks do not recognize. Fish and lamb chorba are considered delicacies in Serbia.
Čorba is a thick rich soup that is prepared in Serbia.
Meat dishes are the basis of Serbian cooking. Local chefs use pork, lamb and goat meat. They are fried and baked on coals, boiled, minced meat, rolls, sausages are made. Authentic Serbian dishes are boiled knee with horseradish, schnitzel Karađorđević, stuffed hangers. The garnish in most cases are baked vegetables or rice.
Special mention deserves kulen – smoked sausage from pork, paprika and spices. The authentic recipe for its preparation is registered in the EU under the brand name Sremski Kulen and is controlled on a territorial basis.
Serbian cuisine is characterized by the serving of salads as components of a hot dish, and not individual appetizers. Therefore, the technology of their preparation is simple, the most common option is to cut and mix vegetables without adding a sauce, but with salt and vegetable oil to taste. Sometimes you can find an option with boiled eggs or cheese.
In Serbia, dairy products are actively produced and used in gastronomy. Kajmak is made in villages, as Serbs believe that during industrial production it loses its original smell and taste.
There are dozens of varieties of cheese from cow’s, sheep’s, goat’s milk in the Balkan republic.
In the village of Gornia-Zasavitsa, donkey milk is used to make cheese, which is officially recognized as the most expensive in the world. Its price is 1000 euros per 1 kg. High cost is due to the specifics of manufacturing.
Serbia is famous for its rich assortment of dairy and fermented milk products.
Herbs and spices
Greens and seasonings in Serbian gastronomy are used in a limited way, the most popular are hot black pepper and paprika, which are added to some dishes. In the recipes of local salads there are no greens.
Parsley is used as a decoration for soups and main dishes, but it is not their mandatory component.
Flour products and desserts
Bread in Serbia is baked airy and soft, sprinkled with sesame on top. According to the technology, the same product can be sweet (then it is served with tea) or unleavened (in this case, it is consumed with soup or a hot dish).
Serbian pies are called pita, but they do not resemble the Greek pastries of the same name. These are lush flour products with different fillings: cheese, meat, berries, cottage cheese, fruits, jam.
Popular desserts in the country are:
- Shtrukli – walnuts and plums baked in cheese.
- “Russian cap” – sponge cakes in the shape of a cylinder, poured with chocolate and sprinkled with crushed nuts. The name appeared because of the resemblance to the headdresses of the Russian army during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878.
- Alva – nuts boiled in honey.
Celebrations in Serbia are treated with respect, and it is not customary to save on food on holidays. The hosts try to collect a plentiful and delicious table, on which they put the best that is in the house. For a snack, guests are given ham, cheese, fresh kaymak, eggs, jelly. When the fun is gaining momentum, an appetizing chorba, light but hearty prebranats and sarma appear on the table, and the culmination of the feast is a fragrant meat dish. Traditional sweets are served afterwards.
On religious holidays, the menu for the family table necessarily includes bread baked in a special way or other similar dish.
On Krsna Slava (the day of the patron saint of the family), Serbs eat Slavski kolac – a muffin loaf, the dough for which is kneaded on water consecrated in the church. The Christmas table is not complete without garlic – round ceremonial bread, inside of which a coin is baked. On Easter, Serbs eat painted eggs.
What you should definitely try in Serbia
Guests of the Balkan Republic are offered a wide selection of delicious and healthy dishes.
Traditional rochtil is minced meat fried on a cast-iron grate with thick rods. To prepare it, finely chopped beef and pork are mixed, sometimes lamb is used. The dish can look like a cutlet, steak or sausage – its appearance depends on the imagination of the cook. Roshtil is served with hot pita, onions, kaymak, aivar.
Sliced into thin strips of prosciutto is considered a meat delicacy. A whole pork or beef ham is rubbed with salt or garlic, then hung for 2 months to dry in the wind and sun. After that, rinse to remove salt, and hang in a cold room with good ventilation. When the meat dries, it is cut into strips and eaten. They serve prosciutto with sheep cheese, red wine, onions, olives, melon.
Serbian dishes are not only delicious, but also healthy.
Muchkalitsa is a meat goulash in Serbian. For cooking, use slices of various meats. They are first fried, then stewed with bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. The result is an appetizing dish, which is usually served in a clay pot.
Fermented milk kaymak is a specially removed cream from milk. Externally, the product is similar to liquid cottage cheese or thick sour cream. In cooking, this useful brackish mass is used as a component for meat and fish dishes, is used with bread, can act as an independent dish.
Caviar from paprika and eggplant is one of the Serbian “namaz”, i.e. dishes that are smeared on bread. In addition to the mentioned components, the composition of aivar includes onions, garlic, tomatoes, salt, pepper. The ingredients are finely chopped, thoroughly mixed and boiled for 20 minutes in vegetable oil. Sometimes sugar and vinegar are added. After cooking, the dish is hot poured into jars and cooled. It is ready for use immediately.
Authentic Serbian chorba is a rich soup based on meat or fish. To give the broth density, butter and fried flour are added to it. Other ingredients are vegetables, oil, noodles. The dish turns out to be hearty – given the large portions in local restaurants, not every visitor after chorba will also master the second dish.
The vegetarian dish prebranats is beans baked with onions, tomato paste, garlic and bay leaves. The finished dish resembles lobio, but is more satisfying. It is consumed hot or cold. Before serving, the prebranats are decorated with greens.
Serbian cuisine offers a variety of meat and vegetable dishes.
For the shell of sarma cabbage rolls, cooks use sauerkraut leaves. The filling is pork, lard, smoked meats, rice, carrots, onions. Vegetables and rice are pre-fried, after which, together with the meat components, they are wrapped in cabbage. The resulting blanks are stewed in a pan for 2 hours. There is a vegetarian version of sarma without meat and smoked meats.
The national dish pleskavitsa is a large round cutlet of minced meat, fried on an open fire. A hearty dish is served with onions, aivar, urnebes or with lepiña – a flatbread similar to pita.
The spicy version of the cutlet with lots of onions is called Leskovac Pleskavica and is the official culinary brand of Serbia.
Grilled chevapchichi are sausages made from minced pork, beef, lamb or a mix of several types of meat. They can be wrapped in bacon, served with sour cream, onions, kaymak, aivar, red pepper, cheese. The name of the dish has a mixed origin. “Chevap” is a corruption of the Turkish “kebab”, and “chichi” is a diminutive suffix in the languages of the South Slavs.
Pie made of yeast or puff pastry burek is the most popular pastry in Serbia. Serbs on average eat it 4 times a week. Skillful bakers toss the dough for cooking burek into the air so that it is saturated with oxygen – it is believed that this improves the taste of the dish. The shell for the pie is pita, and the filling can be meat, potatoes, apples, cherries, mushrooms.
Bread made from corn grains and wheat flour is an alternative to the usual bread. In addition to these components, it includes baking powder, sunflower oil, salt. For baking, a 5 cm high form is used, which is liberally lubricated with oil. The finished opening is cut into pieces, consumed with sausages, kaymak, sauerkraut.
To prepare shop salad, the simplest ingredients are used: fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, paprika, onions, vinegar. The piquancy of its taste is given by the addition of finely grated Serbian cheese. The dish is so popular in Serbia that you can find such a salad in the menu of any restaurant.
Zeljanica with greenery and feta
Layer cake zeljanica is an original pastry stuffed with spinach and Greek feta cheese. In the classic version, a special filo dough is used to prepare the dish. In addition to the mentioned components, the cake is stuffed with black olives, basil, green onions.
Potatoes with garlic and feta
Another variant of the Serbian vegetarian dish is potatoes with tomatoes, feta, olives and garlic. It is a puff pastry casserole, where the lower layer is tomatoes, the middle layer is potatoes, the upper layer is a mixture of grated feta, olives, garlic and greens. Served as a main course.
Executioner pancakes are baked from a dough that does not contain sugar, but because of the filling are a popular dessert. In traditional Serbian cooking, it is sweet millet porridge, kajmak, jam, chocolate, fruit. Grated walnut cores are often used.
Pepper in Serbian
Baked sweet paprika, or pepper in Serbian, is a hot snack for meat dishes. The pods are baked whole in the oven until the skin burns, after which they are cooled and released from the seeds. Then they are poured with a marinade of garlic, vinegar, oil, sugar and allowed to brew for 1 hour. The dish perfectly stimulates the appetite.
Fish stewed in a special way is an original dish from the banks of the Danube. Carp or pangasius fillets are cut into pieces, mixed with onions, garlic, sweet peppers, laid out in a cauldron, poured with water so that it slightly covers the ingredients. Then simmer for 20 minutes on an open fire, achieving almost complete boiling of water. Ready paprikash is served in a deep plate, decorated with greens.
In the Balkan Republic, soft drinks, wine and strong alcohol are drunk with the same pleasure.
Coffee is the main soft drink in Serbia. Locals use it at any time of the day. The most common option is Turkish coffee without milk and sugar. For a delicious, invigorating drink, you do not need to go somewhere special, it is brewed everywhere – from expensive restaurants to simple cafes. Instant coffee, which in Serbia is called “nes”, is also very popular.
The national Serbian drink boza is made by fermentation from corn or wheat. It contains many useful substances, refreshes and tones, this is similar to kvass. The alcohol content in bose is 1%.
Rakija is the most beloved strong alcoholic beverage in Serbia. This is a fruit moonshine, the production of which is carried out on an industrial scale. For the manufacture of rakija use quince, plum, apricots, apples, pear. Classic rakija has a strength of 40%, home varieties – up to 60%.
When visiting Serbia, you should pay attention to numerous wines and traditional drinks.
There are dozens of varieties of Serbian wine. There are 369 distilleries in the country, which produce red, white and authentic cupid (blackberry) wine. The most popular in the Balkan Republic are the following brands:
- Prokupach. It is made from red frost-resistant grapes. After fermentation, the level of sugar and alcohol content is greatly increased.
- Vranac. Tart red wine from the grape variety of the same name.
- Tamyanika. It has a strong fruity smell with notes of basil, strawberry, pineapple, cinnamon.
The authentic drink bermet is made from grapes grown on the slopes of Fruška Gora. Ingredients for its production are also vanilla, wormwood, raisins, last year’s wine. The components are closed for 3 months in wooden barrels, resulting in a spicy drink with a strength of 20%, similar to port wine and vermouth.
Many dishes of Serbian cuisine can be prepared by a skillful hostess at home.
- lamb – 500 g;
- vegetable oil – 100 ml;
- tomatoes – 700 g;
- onion – 3 pcs.;
- rice – 3 tbsp;
- eggplant – 1 pc.;
- pumpkin pulp – 200 g;
- paprika – 2 pods;
- parsley – 1 bunch;
- celery – 1 bunch.
Đuvec is a traditional dish of Serbian cuisine.
- Greens and vegetables, except tomatoes, chop, mix, add 2 tbsp. l vegetable oil, salt and leave to brew for 15 minutes.
- Cut the tomatoes, put them in a baking container, add 1/2 of the vegetable mixture on top, put lamb on it, cover with rice.
- Top layer lay out the remaining vegetables, pour oil, add 2 tbsp. water.
- Bake for 2 hours in the oven at 150°C.
Serve with hot wheat tortilla.
- parsley – 2 large bundles;
- champignons – 500 g;
- lemon – 2 pcs.;
- garlic – 4 cloves;
- grated parmesan – 80 g;
- olive oil;
- Cut the mushrooms in half, sprinkle with the juice of 1 lemon, let it brew for 10 minutes, then drain the liquid.
- Chop parsley, mix it with mushrooms and Parmesan.
- Beat the mixture of olive oil, juice of the second lemon, crushed garlic, salt, pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.