Indulge in the comforting qualities of a velvety vegan mushroom soup. This recipe combines mushrooms, fragrant herbs, and a creamy base to create a delicious dish without the use of any animal products. If you’re a vegan or just looking to add to your repertoire of plant-based dishes, this one’s for you. It makes a bowl of soup that’s as satisfying as it is filling.
We have many immigrants from Southeastern Europe (Balkans) in Turkey. I sympathize with immigrants as I am one of them and I know how hard it can be to call another country home.
This and a few other sauces (lutenists and adjika) are very famous Balkans recipes. I would not bother making it at home normally but, ajvar is very expensive in Dubai.
Today I was checking the fridge to see what I can cook for dinner. That’s when I saw my poor eggplants forgotten in the drawer. I also had capsicums, cherry tomatoes, onion, and garlic. This recipe was on my mind for some time so, I tried making it. And be rest assured, no more store-bought Ajvar will be available in my house. Only when the Global Village is open in October, I can visit Balkans Pavillon and buy from there to support small businesses.
INGREDIENTS (13Kcal per spoon):
- 6 small or 3 large eggplants, washed
- 2 red capsicum, washed – I had yellow and orange
- 20 cherry or 3 medium tomatoes, washed
- 1 medium onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- To roast the peppers and eggplant, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place the whole red peppers and eggplant on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Turning once or twice, roast them in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the skins are browned.
- After taking vegetables out of the oven, the next step is to steam them and peel them. Put the roasted eggplant and peppers in a heat-proof bowl. Use plastic wrap or a clean dish towel to snugly cover the bowl to create steam. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before preparing the vegetables. During this process, the skins will soften and become easier to peel off. Once the burnt skins have cooled enough to be handled, you can peel them off, then remove the seeds and stems before cutting the meat coarsely.
- Make the ajvar by blending or processing the roasted peppers and eggplant. Season with salt, paprika, minced garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and apple cider vinegar. Mix the ingredients together until they are uniform. Try it out and season it if you think it needs it.
- Pack the finished ajvar into a clean glass jar or other airtight container for serving and storage. If refrigerated, its freshness can be maintained for up to a week. To keep the ajvar for a longer period of time, consider freezing it in little portions and defrosting it as needed.
- Garnish the ajvar with chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley before serving to add a burst of flavor and color. Grilled vegetables, meats, crusty bread, crackers, and other meals benefit greatly from the addition of ajvar to their preparation. Try incorporating this versatile Balkan spread into some of your own creations.
Making your own ajvar is a great way to bring the bold flavors of the Balkans into your kitchen. If you follow this simple procedure, you’ll have a jar of ajvar that’s bursting with the flavor of roasted red peppers, eggplant, garlic, and olive oil in no time. Ajvar’s silky smoothness and versatility make it a delightful addition to many different dishes. Why not take a gastronomic vacation and savor the taste of Balkan cuisine with every meal by making your own jar of handmade ajvar?
- You can replace fresh tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes.
- You can spread it on a slice of bread or use it as a sauce for your pasta.