5 Mouthwatering Bulgarian Dishes To Try This Summer


Bulgarian cuisine is representative of Southeastern Europe, sharing many similarities with the Balkans. Imagine a mix of Russian, Italian and Greek, and that’s perhaps the simplest description of Bulgarian food. Interestingly, Bulgarian cuisine differs quite significantly depending on the region due to differences in traditional recipes, climates and other geographical factors affecting the growth of certain ingredients.


Salads, dairy products and filo pastry play a prominent role in Bulgarian cuisine, meaning there are many refreshing dishes perfects for the upcoming summer months. There are also ample opportunities to buy Bulgarian food in London, as well as restaurants to try the “real deal”.

Shopska Salad

Shopska salad, or Shopska salata is the national dish of Bulgaria. The salad’s name comes from a region called Shoplul but was actually invented in the 1960s as an incentive for tourism. Leading chefs developed many salads with names associated with particular regions, the Shopska salad was the only recipe to survive.

Ingredients (makes one salad)

  • 4 ripe tomatoes

  • 2 long cucumbers

  • 1 onion

  • 1 red or green pepper

  • 1/3 bunch of parsley

  • 2 tablespoons (olive) oil

  • 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

  • 225g sirene cheese (Bulgarian cheese)

Hint: the salad is washed down nicely with a glass of rakija (fruit brandy).  

Tarator

This is a cold soup or dip made from yoghurt, cucumbers and garlic (similar to Tzatziki). This dip is ideal accompaniment to a rakia while you soak up the sun.

Ingredients

  • 1 long cucumber, (chopped, peeled or grated)

  • 1 garlic clove, minced or chopped finely

  • 900g yoghurt

  • 200 ml water

  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more if you prefer it salty)

  • 1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped

  • 4 big pecans, well crushed (optional)

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil

Hint: best served chilled with an olive oil garnish 

 

Kebapche

This grilled spicy sausage is made of minced meat is a great accompaniment to a Shopska salad. It is comparable to a Turkish kebab. Commonly the meat of choice is pork, but you can combine pork with lamb and beef for an alternative taste. It’s an ideal addition to a British barbecue for a difference.

Ingredients (makes about 30)

  • 2 lbs minced meat (60% pork, 40% beef preferable)

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)

Hint: Leave in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before rolling into sausage shape.

Moussaka

Moussaka is most commonly associated with Greek cuisine, however it is also very popular in Bulgaria and other countries which formed the Ottoman empire.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb potatoes, (cubed)

  • 1 lb ground meat

  • 1 onion chopped

  • 4 eggs

  • 450 ml milk

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Preparation

  1. Cook the onion until browned.

  2. Add the meat, salt, pepper and paprika and fry until the meat is cooked through.

  3. Add the potatoes and mix well.

  4. Cook for about 40 mins in the oven at 425 F/218 C/gas mark 

  5. Mix the eggs and milk in a separate bowl and pour on top. Then return to oven for a further 10 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Lozovi Sarmi

This dish is made from grape leaves which is stuffed with a combination of rice and minced meat. You can try it with tarator on top.

Ingredients

  • 15-20 grape leaves

  • 3 onions, chopped small

  • 450 g white rice

  • 1 teaspoon dried celery or oregano

  • 3 tablespoons oil

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 700 ml water

Preparation

  1. Fry the onion until golden brown and then add the rice, paprika, celery, oregano. Then add the water.

  2. While the onion is frying, steam the grape leaves.

  3. Once the water has absorbed, use the mixture to fill the leaves and shape them into small bundles.

  4. Boil the bundles in a pot for 45 minutes (you can do this on the hob in the oven in a dish of water).


Hint: They taste great with tarator yoghurt.

Want to get cracking on these mouthwatering dishes? Find out where you can buy authentic Bulgarian produce here.