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Yummiest Food In Bosnia & Herzegovina To Try
Artfully combining ancient flavors inherited from the Ottoman Empire, traditional dishes from the Mediterranean Cuisine and Central Europe tastes, Bosnian gastronomy boasts some of the most interesting recipes in Eastern Europe.
Are you ready? Prijatno! … Or Bon appétit! This article includes the most delicious dishes from Bosnian Cuisine, including snacks and a few interesting drinks you should try when you visit.
Cevapi, Bosnia’s National Dish
Rightfully occupying the first spot on this list, cevapi is the most famous dish in the country, and all over the Balkans, it is popular in any occasion and, of course, Bosnians have their own way to prepare it.
Cevapi is similar to an open sausage or patty made from minced meat, either mutton, veal, or beef, that has been kept in veal or mutton broth before being grilled and served in what is known as Bosnian kebab.
The dish is easy to find everywhere in the country, including restaurants and fast-food eateries.
A portion of cevapi is served with flatbread (somun, the Bosnian pita bread) and a side portion of raw onions and sour cream, another staple ingredient in Eastern European cuisine.
Somun, The Local Pita Bread From Bosnia
Available with any meal, commonly used to prepare snacks and sandwiches, and ideal to accompany the several meat dishes in Bosnian cuisine, somun is a type of flatbread, very similar to Arabic or Greek pita bread.
The most common way to find somun is in with cevapi and other ingredients such as chopped white onions, a red pepper paste (ajvar), and soft cream cheese known as kaymak.
The bread is soft, chewy, and very fragrant, and it has Turkish roots. As a matter of fact, the Ottoman Empire ruled in the country for five centuries, permeating the Bosnian cuisine with hundreds of Middle Eastern flavors.
Dolma And Other Stuffed Vegetables
Also found in the rest of the Balkan countries and Greece, Cyprus, and the rest of the Mediterranean, stuffed vegetables are another fantastic dish that you should try when traveling to Bosnia.
Dolma, which is the general name usually used to mention all the varieties of stuffed vegetables, are very popular and can be very different from each other.
You can try stuffed bell peppers (known as punjena paprika), as well as sarma, rolls made with pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with meat or/and rice. So as you see, dolma is not just about stuffed vine leaves. Zucchini and eggplants are also used to make stuffed vegetables.
And in Mostar, there is a special type of dolma, sogan dolma, described next as it is an entirely different flavor and an amazing Bosnian dish.
Among the veggies often used to make Bosnian dolma, you can find peppers, zucchini, cabbage, and eggplants. Seasoning is abundant, giving the dish a very unique flavor. The filling can be a mix or rice and meat, although the most traditional one includes only white rice with herbs and spices.
In most occasions, meat-filled dolma are served warm with a lemon sauce. Traditional rice dolma often comes with a yogurt-based sauce and plenty of garlic.
Mostar’s Sogan Dolma
This unique dolma variety is a typical dish from the area of Mostar. It uses onions as the main ingredient. In the original recipe, onions are stuffed with either meat, rice, or a mixture of both, and it is far from being a dry dish or tasteless dish.
It can be served as a snack or as a starter, and it is easy to find in any restaurant or eatery in the region. In contrast with warm regular dolma, sogan dolma will usually come to your table boiling hot.
One more super delicious dish that all Bosnians love and enjoy is bosanski lonac or Bosnian Pot. Also considered a national dish in the country, this meat and vegetable stew is made with beef and seasonal veggies, such as potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and peppers.
Bosanski lonac is a kind of stew unique to the country that is prepared following a special tradition.
According to the original recipe, the pot is prepared alternating layers of large pieces of meat and vegetables in a pot until it is completely full. The dish cooks for over 6 hours, when it becomes a mouthwatering stew, with super tender meat that is soaked in a juicy sauce and extremely flavorful.
Slow cooking is a common tradition in Bosnian cuisine, the same as stews and soups. This dish combines a bit of everything. And this is the main secrete for a delicious begova corba, perfect comfort food for cold winter nights and during the holidays.
Begova corba is basically a chicken soup with plenty of vegetables, including celery, potatoes, carrots, and okra. It is often served with sour cream or fresh herbs such as spring onions.
The dish often boils for hours in a clay pot, resulting in a delicious creamy stew. This meal, also known as Bey’s Stew, is considered really special in Bosnia, and it is a favorite thing to eat during important celebrations.
Who doesn’t like meatballs? Cooked in any variety you can think of all over the Balkans, and in the rest of Europe, kufte meatballs are made with grounded beef mixed with onions and herbs for an extra touch of flavor.
The meatballs get all their flavor from a thick tomato sauce used to cook them and typically come with a generous slice of bread to soak in the sauce, mashed potatoes, or even plain white rice… In fact, anything that absorbs the delicious tomato sauce goes well with kufte.
Tarhana corbasi is a soup with Turkish origins found in different variations in the rest of the Balkans and Greece, and Cyprus.
When it comes to tarhana, ingredients vary from country to country; however, its base usually includes flour and wheat, yogurt, and sour milk.
In Bosnia, the soup is made with a mixture of fermented milk (which gives it a characteristic sour flavor), yogurt, wheat, and vegetables; sometimes, it also has meat.
Tarhana is perfect for winter and is served any time of the day, even as a snack or during breakfast.
Also known by the name of borek, this unique snack was introduced all over the Balkan area hundreds of years ago by the Turkish, who originally brought it from Persia.
Found also in places such as Cyprus and Greece (with a totally different name, Bureki from Crete is an entirely different dish although the name is really similar), in Bosnia, burek is made with flaky phyllo pastry and different fillings. Then the long roll with the filling is coiled into a spiral on the pan and baked until it’s crispy, a bit greasy, and absolutely delicious. It can be anything from minced meat, cheese, potatoes, spinach (either alone or mixed with cheese).
Bosnian burek can be found in every bakery either in portions or slices and in the shape of a large pie. It can also be bought by weight or in small individual pies. It has quite an affordable price, and it is easy to eat on the go too.
In some Bosnian bakeries that specialize in preparing different types of burek (known as buregdzinica), it is possible to find burek in a sweet version, often filled with cherries. It is a good idea to buy your burek in a buregdzinica that sells them by weight; that way, you can purchase different pieces with different fillings and decide which one you like the most.
It is common for this dish to be served warm or at room temperature. Bosnian’s love to have it with a drizzle of sour cream on top; others would instead pair it with ayran (burek and ayran), the famous Turkish fermented yogurt drink that they love in the Balkans too.
Bosnian Bean Soup: Grah
One more soup belonging to Bosnian gastronomy is this tasty, thick soup made with vegetables, including onions, peppers, carrots, some slow-cooked beef, and of course, the main ingredient: Peruano beans.
The dish, which is very traditional and highly consumed, especially in winter, is often served with some rice or bread, and it is an excellent weapon against frigid temperatures.
These small dumplings, usually steamed or boiled, filled with a mixture of ground beef (or mutton) and blonde onions sauté in a pan, is a delicious dish in Balkan cuisine; in some places, it is also possible to find them made with a cheese filling.
They are very similar to Turkish manti or Italian ravioli and are simply one of the best meals you can have in the country.
On top, you will not find tomato sauce, but a delicious and creamy sauce made with yogurt and plenty of garlic.
As in many other countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and even Greece, rice is much more eaten than you would have expected. In general, dishes have a strong vegetarian component, and there are a lot of dishes without meat. Djuvec is one of them.
Cooked in a typical round pot bearing the same name as the dish, Djuvec is a vegetarian dish made with a variety of seasonal vegetables and rice. Everything is slow-cooked for at least 2 hours in this pot and well-seasoned. When the dish is ready, it can be served alone as a main dish, or it can be the perfect side dish for a succulent piece of grilled or stewed beef.
Following the tradition of seasonal veggies, sataras is another must-try when visiting the country. This genuinely beloved dish is popular in Sarajevo; it’s a healthy and delicious vegetarian stew.
The vegetables can be tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, potatoes, and even aubergines. As it is the norm with Bosnian stews, they are slow-cooked and suitable for eating alone or with plain white rice for vegetarians, but it also makes a fantastic side dish for a meat stew.
This typically Serbian dish considered a national food in that country has crossed the borders and has become a favorite also in Bosnia.
This is a type of patty made with a mixture of grounded pork, beef, lamb, and plenty of hot spices.
They are often served inside flat pita bread, often heated before being cut, and some onions and relish. A side portion of cheese salad comes with the dish to ease the spiciness of the patty.
These small pieces of dough are filled either with a sweet or savory filling and then deep-fried. And, of course, they are among the most favorite snacks in the country.
Sweet ustipci are filled with various jams or even honey (modern versions can even have Nutella in them) and sprinkled with icing sugar on top. The savory ones can have cheese, onions, or meat inside.
Both in their sweet or savory version, ustipci is a Bosnian snack with very old origins, a traditional recipe that has been passed from one generation to the next. It is common to have them with your coffee or salep tea.
Bosnian Grill: Rostilj
Well, not everything is about vegetables and beans in the country. Meat plays a very important role in the country’s diet.
Usually, lamb, beef, veal, and mutton (in some places also pork is used), the most delicious meat dish you will be able to find is rostilj, a mixed grill platter featuring sausages (typically beef sausages or sudzuk), cevapi, steak and also chicken on occasions.
The grill comes with a vegetable side dish of your choice, such as salad or baked potatoes. French fries and slaw are also alternatives. If you are not interested in the full grill version, Roasted Lamb is a good meat alternative and can even be bought as street food in Bosnian towns.
Sweets From The Bosnian Cuisine
We’ve mentioned several dishes in the savory list, which also have a sweet version, including ustipci and burek. Here, instead, we present you with some unique desserts that you can try in Bosnia.
Not really originating in the Balkans, baklava is a sweet dessert popular in the Middle East, Greece, some Northern African countries, and Turkey.
Baklava features dozens of thin phyllo pastry stuck together with olive oil or melted butter, filled with crushed nuts (sometimes even pistachio), and drizzled with a syrup made with honey.
It is really sweet, perfect when served with a cup of coffee, tea, or even a scoop of whipped cream.
Another very sweet dessert with Ottoman origins is tufahija; this recipe takes a simple ingredient like apples and turns them into an authentic delicacy.
To cook this dish, apples are cored and boiled in water with sugar and then served topped with walnuts and whipped cream; it is also common to drizzle it with the warm cooking juice (which has turned into a thick, savory syrup). Perfect to have it with a cup of Bosnian coffee.
Hurmasice is a fantastic (yet very simple) baked shortbread cookie made with butter, flour, eggs, sugar, and yogurt.
They have an oblong shape and are drenched in a lemon-scented, very sweet syrup as soon as they come out of the oven. Incredibly delicious, perfect for a cup of Bosnian coffee.
A Word On Bosnian Coffee
Often strong and usually drank black, Bosnian coffee is an integral part of the local cuisine. It is often served in very small cups and with a traditional sugar cube on the side or a small sweet, especially in a cafeteria.
Although it might look similar to Turkish coffee, avoid calling it that way when in Bosnia; prefer to call it Bosanska kahva to avoid offending the locals.
Other Drinks From Bosnia
You won’t only drink coffee in Bosnia, that is for sure!
It is also a good idea to try the local beers, known as pivo when one of the many meat dishes we discussed earlier in the article. The most popular ones include Republika Srpska’s Nektar, and Hercegovacka Pivovara.
Another drink you will undoubtedly come across is Rakija, a popular kind of grappa or liquor that can be made with different types of fruits, drank not just in Bosnia but in many other countries in the Balkans. It has a high alcohol volume and should be served ice-cold.
Finally, do not miss a drink that is undoubtedly lesser-known but has a unique flavor that you won’t easily forget. Salep, with its Ottoman origins, is a very popular winter drink in Turkey as well as in Bosnia, where it is often described as salep tea.
Salep is, in fact, not just the name of the drink but also made of the special kind of flour used to prepare this comforting hot drink. The flour is made from the tuber of certain orchid flowers. It is often served with sweet spices, such as cinnamon, some sugar, and usually hot foamy milk too.Share