Cooking Traditional Bulgarian Foods
1. Lukanka: is a Bulgarian spicy salami unique to Bulgarian cuisine. It is similar to sujuk, but often stronger flavored.
Traditionally, lukanka salami is made of pork, beef, and spices (black pepper, cumin, salt, minced together and stuffed into a length of dried cow's intestine as Casing. After the stuffing process, the cylindrical salami is hung to dry for about 40 to 50 days in a well-ventilated location. In the process of drying, the salami is pressed to acquire its typical flat form. Lukanka is usually finely sliced and served cold as an appetizer or starter.
2. Sujuk: is a dry, spicy sausage in Bulgarian cuisine eaten from the Balkans to the Middle East and Central Asia.Sujuk consists of ground meat (usually beef, but pork is used in non-Muslim countries and horse meat in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan), with various spices including cumin, sumac, garlic, salt, and red pepper, fed into a sausage casing and allowed to dry for several weeks. It can be more or less spicy; it is fairly salty and has a high fat content.Sujuk may be eaten cooked (when raw, it is very hard and stiff). It is often cut into slices and cooked without additional oil, its own fat being sufficient to fry it. At breakfast, it is used in a way similar to bacon or spam. It is fried in a pan, often with eggs (e.g. as breakfast in Egypt), accompanied by a hot cup of sweet black tea. Sujuk is sometimes cooked with haricot bean or incorporated into pastries at some regions in Turkey. In Bulgaria, raw, sliced sujuk is often served as an appetizer with rakia or other high alcoholic drinks. In Lebanon, cooked sliced sujuk is made into sandwiches with garlic sauce and tomato.
3. Black Pudding: Black pudding, blood pudding or blood sausage is a type of sausage made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled. The dish exists in various cultures from Asia to Europe. Pig, cattle, sheep, duck and goat blood can be used depending on different countries. In Europe, typical fillers include meat, fat, suet, bread, sweet potato, onion, chestnuts, barley, and oatmeal while in Spain (morcilla) and Asia, potato is often replaced by rice.
4. Pacha: In Bulgaria, the meal пача (pacha) is prepared from pig's heads (primarily the ears), legs, and oftentimes tongue. The broth is heavily seasoned with garlic before cooling.
5. Tarator: is a traditional Balkan dish. It is a cold soup (or a liquid salad), popular in the summertime in Albania, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, southeastern Serbia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Armenia and in Cyprus (where it is known as Ttalattouri). It is made of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, walnuts, dill, vegetable oil, and water, and is served chilled or even with ice. Local variations may replace yogurt with water and vinegar, omit nuts or dill, or add bread. The cucumbers may on rare occasions be replaced with lettuce or carrots. Tarator is a type of summer salad.
6. Bob Chorba: is a national Bulgarian dish. The name translates to "bean soup". It is a soup made from dry beans, onions, tomatoes, chubritza or dzhodzhen (spearmint) and carrots.
Local variations may also exclude the carrots or include paprika, potatoes or even some kind of meat.
7. Shkembe Chorba: is a tripe soup in the Turkish and some Balkan cuisines. It is often seasoned with vinegar or lemon juice. In the South Slavic languages, this soup is called Shkembe chorba . The name is from Persian language, shikambeh (stomach/tripe) and shorba (thick soup, from shir+ba, "milk+broth"). It entered into the Slavic languages via Ottoman Turkish.
In Bulgaria a whole pork, beef or lamb tripe is boiled for few hours, chopped in small pieces, and returned to the broth. The soup is spiced with ground red paprika which is briefly fried, and often small quantity of milk is added. In some areas it is thickened by adding flour to the paprika during frying. Traditionally the soup is served with mashed garlic in vinegar and hot red pepper. There is a variant of the soup with intestines instead of tripe.
(Hangover remedy:Shkembe chorba is widely believed to be a hangover remedy. Coupled with beer, Shkembe chorba is believed to be the best known hangover remedy.)
8. Shopska Salata: is a traditional Bulgarian cold salad popular throughout the Balkans and Central Europe. It is made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, raw or roasted peppers (preferably roasted), sirene (white brine cheese), and parsley
The vegetables are usually diced and salted, followed by a light dressing of sunflower oil or olive oil, which are occasionally complemented by vinegar. The addition of vinegar only contributes, however, to the sour flavor that the tomatoes impart. In restaurants, the dressings are provided separately. Lastly, the vegetables are covered in a thick layer of grated or diced sirene. In areas where sirene cheese is unavailable, feta cheese may be used as a substitute. This salad is often consumed as an appetizer with rakija.
Shopska salad derives its name from the regional group called Shopi living mostly in parts of Bulgaria (but also in areas of Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia).
9. Snow White Salad: Snezhanka salad or Snow White salad (Bulgarian, Macedonian: Салата Снежанка) is a dish popular in Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia. It is made from yogurt and cucumbers. Snezhanka (Snow White) salad derives its name from the fairy tale creature Snow White but the only reason for the name is the predominantly white color of the salad.
10. Kyopolou: is a popular Turkish and Bulgarian relish made principally from roasted eggplants and garlic. Sometimes red bell peppers can also be added. Kyopolou can be consumed as a bread spread, a condiment, or as a salad. The kyopolou is a typical eggplant appetizer for the Bulgarian cuisine. The relish is popular in the Balkans in different variants and names (e.g. Ajvar in Serbia).
11. Patato Salad: is a dish made from potatoes, the versions of which vary throughout different regions and countries of the world. Although called a salad, it is generally considered a side dish, as it generally accompanies the main course. Potato salad is often served with barbecue, roasts, hot dogs, fried chicken, hamburgers and cold sandwiches. It is generally considered casual fare, and as such is typically served at picnics, outdoor barbecues, and other casual meals and events. It is a popular menu choice of cooks preparing food for a large number of people, because it is easily made in large quantities, it can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until needed, and requires inexpensive ingredients.
General versions of potato salad include:
salad made with baby potatoes, cooked in their jackets and left whole (skin on)
larger potatoes, cooked in their jackets and then peeled and cut
salad with a mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, sour cream or milk dressing
salad with vinegar dressing
salad with bacon, anchovies, or mustard.
salad with a fresh herb or dill dressing and/or chives, scallions, tarragon, gherkins, capers or other items.
salad with raw onions, cooked onions or pickled onions.
salad with tomatoes or green beans.
salad with hard-boiled eggs (a combination of potato salad and egg salad)
salad with ham, pickles, corn, hard-boiled egg and tomato (known in France as salade piemontaise)
salad with orange slices, Worcestershire sauce, bacon, and chives.
Waldorf salad with potatoes, apples, celery, walnuts, and mayonnaise
12. Ljutenitsa: (ljuto, lyuto or luto meaning spicy) is a national relish of Bulgaria. The ingredients include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onion, garlic, black pepper, vegetable oil, sugar and salt. Ljutenica may be slightly hotter (spicier) than the other popular relish Ajvar (Bulgarian tradition Lyutenitsa is less hot than Ajvar). In recent years, industrial production of lutenica, as well as ajvar, has flourished. A large scale production of both relishes has popularized them outside the Balkans. In addition, it has to be noted that different regions and countries have substantially different interpretations of these relishes.
13. Hot appetizers:
Katino meze (Hot starter with chopped pork meat, onion, mushrooms with fresh butter and spices.)
Drob po selski (Chopped Liver with onion, or only with butter.)
Ezik v maslo (Sliced tongue in butter.)
Sirene pane (Breaded Bulgarian White cheese bites.)
14. Skara:Skara is a common name of the traditional Bulgarian barbeque and includes roasted on embers various meats, vegetables, mushrooms or fish, seasoned with traditional spice.
Kyufte (Meatballs - Minced meat, with special traditional spices, shaped as a ball.)
Kebabche (Like meatballs, but with different spices and shaped as bars.)
Parjola (Pork Steaks in traditional style.)
Shishcheta (Arranged on a skewer marinated pieces of chicken or/and pork and vegetables.)
Karnache (Kind of sausage with special spices.)
Nadenitsa (Kind of sausage with special spices.)
Tatarsko kyufte (Stuffed meatballs.)
Nevrozno kyufte (Very piquant meatballs.)
Chicken in caul
Cheverme (One of the best Bulgarian grilled dish. The tradition that Bulgarian chefs respect requires that specialty to be prepared by slowly rotating under a gentle embers for 4 to 7 hours. This is the reason why, if you want to try this delicacy is necessary to give order to the restaurant at least one day earlier.)
Meshana skara (Mixed grill.)
Grilled Vegitables (Usually prepared for garnish.)
Grilled Fish (Various traditional recipes for grilling sea or river fish.)
15. Moussaka: is an eggplant based dish of the Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East. The best known variation outside the region is the Greek one. Most versions are based primarily on sautéed eggplant (aubergine) and tomato, usually with minced meat. The Greek version includes layers of meat and aubergine topped with a white sauce/Béchamel sauce and baked. Turkish musakka, on the other hand, is not layered. Instead, it is prepared with sautéed aubergines, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat. It is eaten with cacık and pilaf. There are also variants with zucchini, carrots and potatoes. The Serbian version and Bulgarian version use potatoes instead of aubergines, pork mince and the top layer is yogurt mixed with raw eggs and a couple of spoons of flour. In the Arab world, moussaka is a cooked salad made up primarily of tomatoes and aubergine, similar to Italian parmigiana, and is usually served cold as a mezze dish. The modern Greek version was probably invented by Tselementes in the 1920s. It has three layers: a bottom layer of sautéed aubergine slices; a middle layer of cooked ground lamb cooked with onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, herbs, and spices (cinnamon, allspice and black pepper); and a top layer of béchamel sauce or egg custard. The composed dish is baked until the top layer is browned. Moussaka is usually served lukewarm. In Serbia and Bulgaria there is also a three-layer version: the bottom layer consists of ground pork and beef, the middle layer slices of potatoes, the top layer a custard. Each layer is cooked on its own and layered in a pan and baked until the top layer is browned.
16. Gyuvech: is a Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian oven-baked beef and vegetable stew similar to ratatouille. It is made with beef, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, rice, onions, herbs, and spices and is often served with "Balkan Mixed Salad", a combination of roasted eggplant, sweet peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and vinegar. Variations on the dish can also have other meat and vegetable ingredients. Meats can include chicken, pork, lamb or sometimes beef or fish (or the meat can be omitted), while vegetables may include onion, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, eggplant, peas, potatoes, carrots, etc. the dish is flavoured with paprika and summer savoury and various other herbs, and may be cooked in a pan or in the oven.
17. Sarma: is a dish of grape, cabbage or chard leaves rolled around a filling usually based on minced meat. It is found in the cuisines of the Balkans and Turkey as well as those of Central Europe, Central Asia and Middle East. Minced meat (usually beef, pork, veal, or a combination thereof, but also lamb, goat, sausage and various bird meat such as duck and goose), rice, onions, and various spices, including salt, pepper and various local herbs are mixed together and then rolled into large plant leaves, which may be cabbage (fresh or pickled), chard, sorrel, vine leaf (fresh or pickled) or broadleaf plantain leaves. The combination is then boiled for several hours. While specific recipes vary across the region, it is uniformly recognized that the best cooking method is slow boiling in large clay pots. A special ingredient, flour browned in fat , is often added at the end of the process. Other fine-tuned flavors include cherry tree leaves in some locations; other recipes require the use of pork fat—there are innumerable variations across the region. Vegetarian options as well as those made with fish exist.
18. Pulnena Chushka ( Stuffed Peppers ): Pulnena piperka/Pulnena chuska (Bulgarian) is an Eastern European dish consisting of peppers filled with minced meat and rice. The meat, usually ground beef, is mixed with herbs, spices and rice. In Bulgaria, stuffed peppers are usually eaten with yogurt. There are many variations of the dish across the Balkans.
19. Banitsa: is a traditional Bulgarian food prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of cheese between filo pastry and then baking it in an oven. Traditionally, lucky charms are put into the pastry on certain occasions, particularly on Christmas Eve, the first day of Christmas, or New Year's Eve. These charms may be coins or small symbolic objects (e.g., a small piece of a dogwood branch with a bud, symbolizing health or longevity). More recently, people have started writing happy wishes on small pieces of paper and wrapping them in tin foil. Wishes may include happiness, health, or success throughout the new year. Banitsa is served for breakfast with plain yogurt, ayran, or boza. It can be eaten hot or cold. Some varieties include banitsa with spinach (spanachena banitsa) or the sweet version, banitsa with milk (mlechna banitsa) or pumpkin (tikvenik).
In Bulgaria, banitsa is a symbol of Bulgarian cuisine and traditions.
Traditionally, Bulgarians prepare and serve banitza on two holidays – Christmas and New Year's Eve. On these days, people add kusmeti (literally lucks, meaning fortunes, lucky charms) into the banitsa. The lucky charms are usually small pieces of dogwood branch, which vary in numbers of buds on them. They symbolize health and longevity. The branches are hidden inside the banitsa, and the banitsa is then baked. When ready, the banitsa is cut in a way that each piece contains a dogwood branch. A wish is associated with each branch and the different number of buds on the branch helps to recognize the corresponding wish. The wishes include happiness, health, success, travel, etc. The banitsa is then spun on the table and everyone takes the piece which is in front of them when the spinning stops. Then they find their fortune inside the piece – the fortunes predict what one is to expect from the new year. The most common fortunes are "health", "love", "marriage", "baby", "journey", "wealth", etc.
20. Patatnik: is a Bulgarian potato dish characteristic of the Rhodope Mountains in the country's central south. Patatnik is made of grated potatoes, onions, salt and spearmint, all mixed and cooked on a slow fire. Meat, sirene (white cheese) or eggs might be added; some people also use savory and peppers. The grated potatoes are squeezed out and mixed with the eggs, onions and cheese. Some of the doughy mixture that has formed is rolled into two sheets. One of the sheets is placed on the bottom of the dish and should be larger in diameter than it so as it comes out a fair bit. The remaining mixture is spiced with savory, poured on top of the first sheet, covered with the other sheet; the edges of both sheets should cover each other: in that respect, it resembles a "potato banitsa". According to one of the preparation methods, the patatnik is turned over when the bottom is well cooked and slipped into the dish with the heated side. According to other recipes, no sheets are formed and instead the ingredients are mixed until they become homogeneous; these are then cooked in a deep dish on a slow fire. After 20 minutes the mixture is turned over and covered and then cooked further. The dish is traditional for the entire Rhodopes and the nearby regionss, from Bansko in Pirin through Smolyan and Zlatograd to as far east as Chernichevo. The name is derived from the local word patato or pateto, "potato", with the Slavic masculine suffix –nik. The word is typical for the Rup dialects spoken in the Rhodopes.