Ajvar is a Serbian red bell pepper based condiment popular in the Balkans. It is ideal as a bread spread but also serves as a sauce for a lot of different dishes. It is great for vegan burgers for example. Skip to the recipe.
Ajvar is traditionally made with red bell peppers roasted over a wood fire where it gets its characteristic smoky flavor. If you don’t have access to a grill for roasting, you can still make it by roasting the peppers over a gas stove. The peppers can also be cooked in the oven but the resulting Ajvar will be of inferior quality.
3.5 oz200 g3.5 oz of eggplant (about two medium eggplants)
4 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup62.5 ml1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy, less if you don’t)
pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Step 1 Char the red bell peppers on a grill or on the stove until completely blackened. Rotate them with tongs so they cook evenly. Be careful not to over cook them because they might burnt to a crisp!
Step 2 Place them in an air-tight container and let them rest for at least 2 hours to increase the smoky flavor. You can also let them rest in the air-tight container overnight inside the fridge so you can split the preparation in two days.
Step 3 Pierce the eggplant skin with a fork in several places and roast it on the grill or the stove. Rotate it with tongs so it cooks evenly. It is ready when it feels soft and the skin is darker. Store in an air-tight container for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Step 4 Once the resting time is over remove the skin from the roasted red bell peppers using your fingers. Wash them and cut around the top of the pepper and remove the stem and seeds.
Step 5 Cut the eggplant lengthwise and extract the eggplant’s flesh with a spoon.
Step 6 In a food processor place the red bell peppers, the eggplant and minced garlic and pulse until homogeneous.
Step 7 Add vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and pulse until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Step 8 Transfer to a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring to prevent from burning.
Step 9 Once cool transfer to an air-tight container and store it in the fridge.