The influence of the Ottoman Empire is very obvious in a detailed examination of the basics of Bulgarian cuisine. Even today, when quite a lot of time has passed since the liberation of Bulgaria from the oppression of the Ottoman yoke, the established culinary traditions are very difficult to cross. And few people try to do this, because modern Bulgarian cuisine is a favorite for the peoples of different countries for its diversity, vibrant tastes and ease of preparation.
Historical Aspects of Formation
Already 2-1 millennium BC testifies to some products typical of the peoples of the territory where modern Bulgaria is located. The farming and cattle-breeding activities of the Thracians living on these lands helped to grow wheat, barley, many fruits and vegetables, grapes known today. Local people knew a lot about sheep and horse breeding. The Thracians used all these products for cooking, they learned how to mix them, thus obtaining various dishes from the same ingredients.
The longest was the influence of the Ottoman Empire on modern Bulgarian cuisine. As a result of this influence, a peculiar mix of Balkan and Eastern world culinary traditions was formed, where dishes with Turkish, Armenian, Arab, Greek roots prevailed.
The dishes of Bulgarian cuisine of those times to this day are in demand among the local population of Bulgaria, and among tourists from all over the world.
Features and properties of Bulgarian cuisine
Among the main features of the recipes of Bulgarian cuisine, it is necessary to name the abundance of vegetables used in the menu. Methods for cooking vegetables in Bulgaria are used by anyone - from eating raw fruits to boiling, stewing, frying and stuffing. They eat vegetables as main and additional dishes, for appetizers, side dishes and even dessert. Bulgaria is famous all over the world as the main country of vegetables - they prefer to eat potatoes, carrots, onions, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and cabbage in any possible form. Sometimes Bulgarian cuisine recipes can do real miracles with simple vegetables and tasters can hardly distinguish eggplant from chicken meat in a finished culinary masterpiece, for example.
Bulgaria is also a state where sour-milk products are very fond of. Beloved by all yogurt was invented in Bulgaria. Every Bulgarian village has its own way of how to properly and tastyly cook real yogurt. These recipes are not repeated, which makes the variety of types of real yogurt in the Bulgarian menu very extensive. Breakfasts of real Bulgarians very often consist of feta cheese, yogurt and vegetables, which makes the daily menu hearty and very useful. Local residents also use sour milk as a dressing for the famous Bulgarian soup. In general, the sour-milk basis of various dishes is a hallmark of so many of the Bulgarian cuisine menus.
Unlike many of their European neighbors, Bulgarians do not cultivate meat products. There are quite a few of them in the classic Bulgarian menu, but all of them are more likely holiday dishes that are not intended for everyday use. Moreover, Bulgarian cuisine rarely accepts half-baked foods - here most often dishes are cooked for a very long time, languishing over low heat. Half-fried steaks - this is definitely not a dish from the menu of restaurants of Bulgarian cuisine.
In all their classic dishes, the Bulgarians track the correct serving from their point of view - it is customary to sprinkle all food here with fresh or canned herbs, a large bouquet of spices, and spices. It’s hard to imagine at least one classic Bulgarian national dish without allspice or red peppers, bay leaves, mint, garlic or parsley.
From a medical point of view, the properties of the national Bulgarian cuisine are very useful for the human body. The abundance of vegetable and sour-milk dishes, as well as the widespread use of red wine, allow doctors to fix the average life expectancy of Bulgarians at the level of 74.5 years.
Features of the Bulgarian national cuisine suggest the division of all culinary dishes into first, second and salads. Soups from the Bulgarian cuisine are very popular as the first. The most famous Bulgarian soups include tarator and chorba, who are known and loved by gourmets all over the world.
Bulgarian cucumber soup - tarator - is popular for its refreshing, refreshing properties. This soup is most often eaten in extreme heat to cool slightly and quench both hunger and thirst. The tarator, like most cold soups, is low-calorie, tasty and very healthy, and it’s very simple to cook at home as well.
To prepare the tarator, you need:
- 1 cucumber;
- 2 cups of natural yogurt;
- 1 glass of water;
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil;
- 2-3 cloves of garlic;
- dill, salt and pepper - to taste.
When preparing a tarator, one Balkan trick should be taken into account - to use garlic in local dishes, it is ground by hand in a mortar along with sea salt. So garlic gives its flavor and pungency to the finished dish better.
The cucumber is peeled and finely chopped. Fresh dill is similarly cut, but walnut kernels should be cut larger - this will give the dish a peculiar taste and aroma. Then, garlic, dill, cucumber and nuts prepared with sea salt are combined in a container, the mixture is poured with vegetable oil and left to infuse for a quarter of an hour. Sometimes the ingredients need to be mixed. Then you need to whisk the yogurt with a whisk and add it to the rest of the ingredients, pour in cold water and mix everything thoroughly. The tarator is ready, but it still needs to be well cooled in the refrigerator.
In this classic recipe you can also add any greens to taste, lemon juice to enhance the taste, sour cream, croutons or crackers, as well as black pepper or ice.
The opposite of the cold tarator in the Bulgarian national cuisine is Shkemba chorba soup. This dish has warming properties, so it is so popular in frosty winters, besides, chorba is an excellent remedy for a hangover and just a very tasty and unusual dish.
There are a lot of Shkembe Chorb recipes and they are all good in their own way. Real Bulgarian culinary specialists assure that the preparation of this dish requires the investing of a piece of the soul from the cook, only then it always turns out to be incredibly tasty.
To make chorb with sour milk, you must have the following products:
- 1 kilogram of beef, pork or lamb stomach (it is possible to use a scar or tripe);
- 250 milliliters of natural Bulgarian yogurt or sour milk;
- 2 eggs;
- 1 tablespoon of flour;
- 1 teaspoon of paprika;
- 50 grams of butter;
- 2-3 cloves of garlic;
- wine vinegar and salt to taste.
The entrails, stomachs or scar must be washed and cleaned, poured with water, brought to a boil and simmer for about a quarter of an hour. After this, the first broth must be drained, again pour meat products with water and boil them until fully cooked without using salt. The finished scar must necessarily become soft, it should not resemble rubber when chewing. The product must be removed from the broth and finely chopped.
In a deep container, beat the eggs. The flour is fried in a pan until golden brown and added to the bowl to the beaten eggs. Then sour milk or yogurt is introduced there and the whole mass is thoroughly mixed. After this, you need to slowly pour in the sour-milk mixture, constantly stirring, about half of the resulting boiling broth, in which the meat products were cooked. A well-mixed soup is poured back into the pan, a sliced tripe or stomach is added to it, the dish is salted and brought to a boil. After boiling, the soup is cooked for about 5 minutes, then removed from the heat. Fresh garlic mashed to gruel is added to it.
In a pan, butter is heated, on which it is necessary to fry a teaspoon of paprika. The finished paprika is introduced into the chorba and mixed thoroughly. But dishes of Bulgarian cuisine, the recipes of which are becoming popular all over the world, most often suggest variability of presentation. That is why there are many additions to almost any food in this country - sauces, croutons, separately chopped greens and other additives to the taste of the taster. To Chorba, according to national tradition, it is customary to serve crushed garlic with vinegar in a separate cup. Guests introduce such an addition to the soup at their own discretion, but the cook is highly recommended to try this combination. Chorba is served to the table very hot, scorching - only in this case you can try all the facets of the taste of this incredible soup.
Bulgarian salads are the second group of dishes that are popular all over the world, due to the simplicity of the ingredients and cooking. In all Bulgarian salads there are a lot of vegetables, herbs and spices, and olive oil is most often used as dressing. That is why the salads of Bulgarian cuisine are very healthy and never bored - they can easily be combined with any side dishes and meat dishes.
One of the most delicious in Bulgaria is a potato salad. It will require 5 potatoes, 15 olives, onion, parsley and dill, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. The potatoes are boiled in their skins, then peeled and diced. Onions, parsley and dill are finely chopped, and olives are cut in half, and all this is added to the potatoes. The salad is mixed well and seasoned with olive oil, sprinkled with vinegar, salt and add pepper to taste. Such a salad will be a great addition to lamb, oven-baked meat and other main courses.
For an unusual ham salad, Bulgarian culinary specialists use 200 grams of ham, half a can of canned corn, 2 carrots, 2 cucumbers, 2 tomatoes, 200 grams of cabbage, 1 egg, 150 grams of cheese, herbs and mayonnaise. Preparing it, you need to put ham diced into cubes in a deep salad bowl and grease with a thin layer of mayonnaise.
Next, spread the grated carrots and thinly sliced cabbage on the ham, and apply a small mayonnaise net on top. The third layer is chopped cucumbers and tomatoes under mayonnaise, and the fourth is sweet corn and shredded greens, which also need to be slightly flavored with mayonnaise. The last layer is hard cheese, eggs and mayonnaise grated on a coarse grater.
The salad turns out to be very tasty and incredibly satisfying, so it is often served as an independent second dish, complemented by croutons or buns.
For lovers of seafood and unusual combinations of ingredients, masters of Bulgarian cuisine often prepare a national shrimp salad.
- 1 kilogram of shrimp;
- 500 grams of crab sticks;
- 1 lemon
- bunch of lettuce leaves;
- 2 tomatoes;
- a bunch of parsley;
- jar of seedless olives;
- 400 grams of feta cheese;
- olive oil, salt and pepper for dressing.
Shrimps are boiled in salt water and peeled, crab sticks and tomatoes are diced. Salad leaves and parsley are finely chopped and sprinkled in a bowl. Brynza must be cut into large cubes so that the cheese does not crumble and has a shape in the finished dish. Shrimps, tomatoes, crab sticks, whole olives and feta cheese are added to the chopped herbs and mixed thoroughly, then seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Shrimp salad needs to be cooled well before serving. It goes well with white wine, grilled vegetables and pasta.
Bulgarian national cuisine is constantly improving its recipes, making adjustments in the form of changing proportions and adding new ingredients. But even those dishes that have been cooked in the same way for centuries, to this day are very tasty, healthy and popular among the local population and among tourists who come to rest. The main secret of Bulgarian culinary specialists is the products from which they prepare their masterpieces. A true Bulgarian chef will choose for his dishes only those ingredients of which he is fully confident, which have grown on this earth and have not been subjected to long-term storage and transportation. Only in this case, according to the Bulgarians, you can get a unique taste of your favorite dishes and a lot of fans around the world.