In addition to its famous landmarks and attractions admired by many, a lot of guests experiencing BiH for the first time take home the fond memories of its wholesome and delicious cuisine, similar to Turkish and Greek cuisines, and the cuisines of other Mediterranean countries. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina was under Austro-Hungarian administration for a while, central European influences are discernable in its cuisine too.
Despite hectic life style, families in BiH attribute a lot of importance to enjoying meals together. It is not just the time to savour delicious masterpieces of mom’s skilful hands; it’s the time to exchange the experiences and the anecdotes of the day behind.
Many dishes of Bosnian cuisine are very appetising and are often served in rather generous portions. They often contain a wide variety of spices, used sparingly, in small quantities.
Typical ingredients include tomatoes, potatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini and beans, while the most popular spices include ground paprika, pepper, parsley, bay leaf and celery. Popular ingredients of savoury dishes often include milk, cream and crème fresh, while desert ingredients often include cinnamon and clove.
As a rule, traditional dishes include meat. A few popular dishes presented in detail below are a must-have at each dinner table during the month of Ramadan.
BEGOVA ČORBA (BEY SOUP)
This strong and savoury soup can also be served as a main course.
1/2 kg chicken meat
100 g diced carrots
50 g okra
20 g rice
2 dl crème fresh
Heat the pan, grease the surface with a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil, add meat and vegetables and cook at medium temperature. Once the meat is soft, debone, strain the liquid, dice the meat and vegetables and put them back in the liquid. Put okra in warm water to soften. It could be left in the warm water over night. Several drops of lemon juice or vinegar should be added, to soften it. Boil okra in water and several drops of lemon juice for several minutes. Cook and drain the rice and add it to the soup, together with okra. Remove from the heat and add crème fresh and egg yolks, whisking constantly, to thicken the soup. Once the soup is thickened, it should not be reheated, because it could easily burn.
Prior to serving, add finely chopped parsley and several drops of lemon juice. Make sure you serve it with lemon wedges served separately, for guest to add to their soup, if they wish to do so. Add a tablespoon of crème fresh in each plate.
This delicious dish is made of melted cream and cheese, combined with eggs. It is typically served before soup, as a first course of the meal. In addition to cheese, this popular dish could also be combined with smoked beef, while some people prepare it with corn flour.
Melt the high-fat salted cream in a pan. Wait until the mixture starts to bubble. Add 1 to 3 eggs and remove from the stove. Mix well. Serve hot, with fresh, preferably hot pita bread (somun).
SARAJEVSKI SAHAN (SARAJEVO PLATE)
Sarajevo Plate is a popular dish available in many traditional local buffet-style restaurants in Sarajevo. It is also commonly found on the menus of downtown dining establishments.
500 g minced meat
1 bowl of cooked rice
1 slice of bread, soaked in milk
2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley and carrot
Salt, pepper and “Vegeta” seasoning mix
1 teaspoon of ground paprika
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 cube of beef stock
700 ml water
20 leaves of grape vine
2 large carrots
Leaves of parsley
First, wash the vegetable. Cut the zucchinis into three to four pieces and remove the seeds inside. Cut off the top of tomatoes and remove the seeds. Clean the inside of peppers and cut the carrots into thin slices. Blanche the grape vine leaves. In a separate bowl, combine minced meat, egg, bread soaked in milk and drained, rice, parsley, carrots, “vegeta” seasoning, salt, pepper and paprika. You may also add some grated onion and three cloves of garlic. Add the beef stock cube to 700 ml of boiling water. In a separate pan, melt a tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of tomato puree and a teaspoon of paprika. Pour the beef stock over the tomato puree mixture and bring to boil. Fill the vegetable with meat mixture and put it into a baking pan with a lid. Roll the grape vine leaves around the meat mixture to form small rolls. Distribute carrot slices in between grape vine rolls and filled vegetables. Preheat oven to 250° C. Bake for about 50 minutes making sure you add the beef stock after first 15 minutes in the oven. Serve with crème fresh.
TUFAHIJA (WALNUT STUFFED APPLES)
For 5 servings:
5 apples (Golden Delicious)
500 g sugar
0.5 l water,
1 pack of vanilla flavoured sugar
0.25 l of heavy cream
150 g sugar
100 g walnuts
50 g almonds and lemon zest
Bring water, sugar and vanilla flavoured sugar mixture to boil. Peel and core the apples and put them gently into boiling mixture. Let the apples simmer for about 8 minutes, turning gently. The apples should not overcook. Remove apples from the sugar mixture, and let them cool. Fill with mixture of ground walnuts, almonds, cream and sugar. Before serving, decorate with whipped cream and a cherry. This dish is best served cold.