How To Make Ajvar: This Is An Easy To Make Ajvar Recipe Anyone Can Try
Is it a sauce, is it a dip? – why you need to incorporate ajvar into your kitchen!
It’s always good to be on the lookout for new and delicious dishes from around the world. The problem is, a lot of them require ingredients that aren’t that easy to source in every country, and somehow, they never really taste the same! Thankfully, there are some which are easy to make and do have that wonderful range of taste sensations to enjoy. One of those dishes is Ajvar.
It is part dip, part sauce, part spread, and occasionally considered to be a relish. Basically, the jury is out on what it can be defined as, but it’s delicious all the same!
Ajvar is a blend of the freshest red bell peppers and eggplant. The beauty of this dish is that it is so versatile, and you can enjoy it as part of many meals, such as pasta, meat dishes, and even as a snack with some fresh bread.
The best time to make and enjoy Ajvar is when the red bell peppers are harvested and therefore at their very freshest, around Autumn time. You’ll easily see people carrying huge bagfuls of them around when the harvest is complete, and you can bet that a huge amount of them are destined to be mixed up as Ajvar.
My favorite way to enjoy ajvar is with cevapi. Please try this ajvar recipe and then tell me how you like to eat yours.
Ajvar takes around 20 minutes preparation time, and 50 minutes to cook. This recipe will make you one large jar ready to store.
How To Make Ajvar: What You’ll Need
- 4 medium-sized red bell peppers
- 1 medium sized eggplant
- Olive oil, around 1/3 cup
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons of white vinegar
- Salt and pepper, amount depends on your personal taste
Now, we do need to address the eggplant side of things, because not everyone enjoys this ingredient. If that is the case, you can omit it entirely and simply make the Ajvar with the peppers only. If you want to make it spicier, you can add roasted chilis, for a real kick!
How To Make Ajvar: Method
- Preheat your oven to 240 degrees C/475 degrees F
- Take a medium-sized baking tray and cover it with baking/parchment paper
- Cut the eggplant into large pieces and arrange on the baking tray
- Cut the red peppers into halves and arrange them on the baking tray
- Cook in the oven for around half an hour, ensuring that the peppers have gone a rather attractive shade of black!
- Take the eggplant and peppers from the tray and place them into a large bowl, covering the bowl over and setting it aside from around 20 minutes
- Once cooled, remove the skin from the eggplant – you don’t need this, so it can be thrown away
- Peel the peppers, remove the core and the seeds – again, you don’t need these bits
- Transfer the remaining pepper and eggplant into a food processor
- Crush the garlic cloves and add them to the food processor
- Add the oil and vinegar to the food processor and add as much salt and pepper as you like
- Pulse the contents of the food processor until a smooth consistency is achieved
- Take a medium-sized saucepan and empty the contents of the food processor inside the pan
- Over a low heat, simmer the contents for around half an hour, ensuring that you constantly stir the contents. The sauce should become thick as it simmers
- If you think it needs more salt and pepper, add a little at this point and stir to combine
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool
NOTE: If you’d like a stronger more smokey flavor, first grill the buggery out of the peppers on an open flame (like your gas stove!) so the skin goes dark.
How To Store Ajvar
You can store the ajvar in a container which has a lid and is airtight for anything up to two weeks, but if you want to keep it for longer, you should can it. In order to do this, you need to mix up the recipe method just a little.
If you are planning to preserve your ajvar, do the following:
- Do not add garlic to the recipe, as it doesn’t tend to preserve very well
- Use sunflower oil instead of olive oil
- Use small jars and ensure they are washed well and sterilised before you add the Ajvar
- When you are simmering the sauce, you should do this for an hour
- When filling up the jars, fill it to the top, leaving around a centimetre free
- Once filled, put the jars in the oven and leave them there for around 10 minutes on a low heat (around 100C, or 200F)
- Once the 10 minutes are up, add sunflower oil to the jar, to fill it up to the top
- Make sure the lids are on well, and place them somewhere dark and cool, covered over with a cloth, for around 48 hours
- You can enjoy your preserved Ajvar this way for around 6 months.