Bulgarian traditional kitchen
When it comes to traditional Bulgarian cuisine, it triggers our strong emotions and fulfills our hearts with joy. We do believe that it is one of the best cuisines in the world. It is not because it is related to the traditions in our mother country but because Bulgarian dishes are well-known in many countries for their variety of ingredients and herbs. Bulgarian women and cooks devote their passion and imagination to the dishes that they cook and their creation is a real culinary magic. We tried to select for you some of our favorite dishes. The choice can be difficult because of the great variety of wonderful traditional dishes and delicacies. We narrowed our selection to 10 golden dishes, typical for our Bulgarian cuisine.
Banitsa is perhaps the most popular Bulgarian delicious pastry. It is also known as the Bulgarian cheese pie. It can be prepared from different ingredients like cheese, meat, pumpkin, spinach etc. And yet the one that everybody likes is the one made with Bulgarian white cheese mixed with eggs and a bit of yogurt put between sheets of phyllo dough. Another option is to roll the sheets in a spiral and then bake them. It can be topped with a thick sauce made from eggs and yogurt. It is baked in an oven and in 15-20 minutes it melts in your mouth. In Sofia this delicacy is known as Sofiiska banitsa.
The taste and smell of the Bulgarian stuffed peppers are so familiar to us that even many years after our childhood we still remember them, as if our grandmothers and grand grandmothers will simply serve it on the table.
Stuffed peppers are part of our traditional Bulgarian dishes and we are proud of calling them a Bulgarian dish. The taste is so typical that it is hard to forget it and when people try the dish they are willing to come back to Bulgaria just to enjoy that taste again. What makes the dish even more special, is the topping made from yogurt. This is a typical Bulgarian combination. You can choose from two options – peppers stuffed with rice only or peppers stuffed with rice and mincemeat. Either of these options will make ask for more.
The beans dish is definitely a typical dish for the people on the Balkans. Especially in Bulgaria, we all love it because we know that a pot of beans is cooked in the same manner as it was cooked many years ago and now it is something like a cook’s secret in every home.
People like saying that if a woman really wants to be a good housewife she should know how to prepare this dish. Some people prefer to put in the dish pork ribs, other like it with no meat or as a soup. Another advantage of this dish is that it combines traditional tastes through a combination of so many different herbs. The smell of the herbs makes your mouth water before you reach the table. Typical herbs, used for this dish, are the magic herbs in the backyards of the houses in the small towns and villages – basil, lovage and of course a pinch of spearmint, which makes the dish so special and gives it a very distinguishing flavor.
Wow, who said sarmi! Another favorite dish that deserves to be put in the top position of the typical Bulgarian dishes!
A wonderful option is sarmi – stuffed cabbage or vine leaves with rice only. They are usually part of the menu in each home at Christmas Eve. The smaller the vine leaves the better the taste – one piece is just as small as a bite. They can also be prepared stuffed with rice and mincemeat. Each different type of this dish is unique but they all give us the feeling of typical Bulgarian taste and traditional cuisine.
There is no doubt that one of the things that every foreigner, who has visited Bulgaria, will tell you when it comes to our cuisine will be the Shopska salad. Tourists from different countries just fall in love with our Shopska salad and adore it – a combination of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, white cheese and onion. The secret of its magic is hidden in the white cheese, which is typical for Bulgaria and is very special. It is not just tasty, it is different and unique. And combined with the vegetables in the Shopska salad it becomes a real culinary delight. And when served if you take a small aperitif of rakija / Bulgarian brandy/, then you will find out why Bulgarian people adore this salad. This combination very soon becomes a favorite one for many foreign visitors once they have tried it.
And now let us share with you a secret – the unique taste of the Shopska salad is due to not only the ingredients but also the way it is prepared.
If you want to achieve a perfect taste then follow this one golden rule –“first put all the green vegetables and then all the rest”. The main herbs and spices such as celery, parsley and dill are carefully cut and then is added the onion – fresh onion or red one and finally the salt. All the ingredients are mixed. Some fresh green peppers and cucumbers are added. Then the topping of homemade apple vinegar or balsamic vinegar and the ingredients are stirred again.
Now it is time to add the tomatoes – nice homegrown rose tomatoes. At the end just add the cheese and a bit of virgin olive oil and …
there you have a perfect Shopska salad. It is not just a perfect one, it the most delicious one that you have ever tried.
Trust us – the taste is quite different if you just toss all the products together in the salad bowl and the stir them.
This dish is something that will help you escape from the unbearable summer heat. This is a cold soup that is nourishing, refreshing and cooling your body.
The traditional Bulgarian tarator is prepared from our unique yogurt and fresh homegrown cucumbers, some dill, walnuts, garlic and olive oil. You can put as much garlic as you wish but don’t forget about it smell! There is nothing more refreshing than a nice cup of tarator in a hot summer evening.
Cheese in a pot
White cheese in a pot is a unique dish among so many dishes typical for Bulgarian cuisine. There are different recipes how to prepare it. The different options include cheese in a combination with meat and potatoes, different vegetables, and finally just some white cheese, a tomato and an egg on the top. It may seem to you a strange combination but you should try the dish and find out that all of the combinations are good.
Our favorite recipe for Cheese in a pot is the traditional Bulgarian one – tomatoes, a red pepper, white cheese, yellow cheese and an egg. If you prefer some meat in it then put a slice of lukanka sausage. The dish is really impressive not only because of its taste but also because of the pot in which it is cooked and served. The pots are ceramic pots with double glaze, produced by applying special methods and technology which gives the dish unique taste. The ceramic pots are painted in traditional patterns by Bulgarian craftsmen.
Patatnik is also a traditional dish that makes us feel proud. Its origin comes from the magic Rhodope Mountains. This dish is a combination of grated potatoes, onion, eggs, butter and cheese. Then some spices -spearmint, dried savory and salt. The recipe is handed down from one generation to the next one and it may vary depending on the region and the preferences.
Why not to mention another dish made from potatoes? Musaka
This is another typical Bulgarian dish made from eggplants or potatoes with minced meat, also a common dish in the Balkans that can be made in different ways. It is topped with a layer of milk and eggs and baked in an oven. What makes it special is the right combination of spices and herbs such as black pepper, spearmint and savory and turns it in a real culinary delicacy.
Bulgarian pogacha – the king of all kinds of bread
Making good and tasty bread is a typical feature of our country. It is a tradition that dates back to hundred years ago and is still passed down from one generation to the next one. Bulgarian women – our grandmothers knew all the secrets how to make dough and roll it out. Under their crafted hands comes up the magic tasty round bread. Its smell fills the houses and gathers the children around the table. This bread has a typical taste that cannot be described and if you want to find out what makes it so special you have to try it. A bite of a freshly baked round bread served with some cheese and butter is even more delicious than the most sophisticated dishes.
Bread has always been appreciated by the people in Bulgaria and our ancestors have taught us that it is important to treat it with respect. Bread was part of our rituals, ancient ceremonies and Bulgarian traditions that are incorporated in our folklore, history and style of living.
A typical routine and a symbol of hospitality is the traditional welcoming of guests with homemade round bread and a pinch of salt and honey. Salt is regarded as a sign of wisdom so if you are welcome and served bread and salt, it means that you are a valuable guest. If you are invited to a wedding then you will see how the groom’s mother gives to the couple small bites of bread dipped in honey. It is believed that it is a symbol of a good start for the young couple and that their life will be as “sweet” as the honey.
Bulgarian people like to have some meet on their tables. It is not a surprise that this dish – kapama- is one of our favorite ones. It is prepared mostly during the cold winter months and is a unique mix of several different types of meat – pork, veal and pork sausage, the traditional Bulgarian sauerkraut/pickled cabbage/ and rice. All of the ingredients are cooked in a big ceramic pot and is poured with red wine and some bay leaves are added to give the dish a special taste and smell. It is a delicious dish and if you tend to like meat dishes it will certainly become your favorite one.
Bulgarian cuisine is unique in terms of variety of ingredients, spices, traditional dishes and recipes. Our team travels a lot but when we come back to Bulgaria what we like most is to enjoy a homemade banitsa made with a lot of cheese, fresh eggs and aromatic butter. Because there is nothing like the tasty Bulgarian dishes!