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Ajvar [ǎj.ʋaːr], which is originated in Serbian cuisine, is a chili pepper and aubergine cream.

The ones who have already been to our Southern neighbours must have eaten this cream since Ćevapi (a type of skinless sausage) and Pljeskavica (a grilled dish of spiced meat) cannot be served without that. However, it also goes with roasted meat and sandwiches. It is not surprising since grilled meat can be perfectly combined with this superb vegetable cream. It goes without saying that we must make it.


If we have a look at the cuisine of more neighbouring countries, we will see that the taste and the preparation of the Transylvanian Zacuscă (a vegetable spread [zaˈkuskə]) and the Bulgarian Lyutenitsa (a spicy vegetable relish) are similar to that of the ajvar.

Ajvar can be bought in jars in the Hungarian shops but it can be made easily at home. However, the preparation of it is time-consuming a bit. Its taste is the best if one roasts the vegetables on charcoal at the end of grilling but it is also delicious if it is made in an oven. Are you ready for making ajvar?

Ajvar has several variations just like the Transylvanian Zacuscă or the Hungarian “lecsó”(or lecho [ˈlɛʧoː]) have. (The latter one is which is a thick vegetable stew made of green and/or red peppers, tomato, onion, salt and ground sweet or hot paprika.) However, everyone considers their own ones are the best. So do I!




I make ajvar from the following way.



1-2 aubergines

8-10 bell peppers

1-2 tomatoes

a small piece of hot pepper

1 big bulb of onion, maybe the red one

2-3 cloves of garlic

about half or one decilitre of olive oil

1 tablespoon of wine (vinegar) or balsamic vinegar






1. Wash the aubergines, pierce them so that they do not burst while grilling, wash the peppers carefully.

2. Put all of them on a baking sheet, place them closely to each other. Of course, it will be more delicious if it is roasted on charcoal.

3. Bake them on 200-250 degrees until their skins get black. It takes about 20-30 minutes. Rotate them a few times meanwhile.

4. Put the peppers into a bowl, cover them with cling film hermetically so that its skin will be removeable easily. Leave the aubergines on the baking sheet until they get a bit cooler.

5. Meanwhile, chop the onion and grate the garlic. Put them immediately to a bigger pot or pan in which they will be cooked. Sprinkle it with salt and start simmering it in some oil. Dip tomatoes in hot water then peel them off.

6. Scratch the aubergines (from their skin) and put them into the pot. Peel (the skin of) the peppers. Add the oil, the salt and some hot pepper. Chop the tomatoes and add them too.

7. Start cooking and when it is hot, turn down the heat. Leave the pot there for 10 minutes then remove it from the cooker and mix the half-ready ajvar with a handheld blender.

8. Continue boiling it. Boil it on a slow heat for 10 minutes. Keep stirring it. Be careful because it sizzles, sputters and splatters everywhere.

9. Add the vinegar then taste it. If its seasoning is good, put them into small jars. It does not contain preservatives so after opening, it must be consumed soon. You can fill 3 or 4 little jars from the prepared amount.

10. Place the jars among pillows immediately after filling them. Wrap and cover them carefully after that leave them there to get cooled until the next day when place them onto the pantry shelves.


Our ajvar is perfect with grilled meat and vegetables. It is also delicious if you spread it onto your toast. Do not forget to provide salted chopped onion to get a real authentic taste.