Menu: Bulgaria

We’ve been huddled around the air conditioner for, oh, about 2 months now. That’s why, this week, I’m making a completely “cool” dinner, made possible by Bulgaria. Thank goodness for chilled soup, dips, drinks, and pastries. Mmm.

P.S. This meal just so happens to be vegetarian (with one vegan dish).

Chilled Cucumber Soup (Tarator) [Recipe]
Refreshing blend of Bulgarian yogurt and cucumber, with a hint of garlic. Garnish with dill and/or crushed walnuts.

Savory Cheese Pastry (Banitsa) [Recipe]
Phyllo dough filled with salty cheese, egg, and baking soda. Quick, easy, and impressive. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Roasted Eggplant & Bell pepper dip (Kyopolou) [Recipe]
Smoky roasted eggplant, bell pepper, and tomatoes pureed with fresh garlic, parsley, vinegar, and olive oil. A great dip for parties, kyopolou is best served the day after preparation. Vegan.

Chopped Salad (Shopska Salata) [Recipe]
We made Shopska Salata for Bosnia and Herzegovina. This refreshing tomato, pepper, red onion, and feta cheese salad is also popular in Bulgaria, with the common addition of sliced cucumbers.

Iced Fruit Drink (Kompot) [Recipe]
Plums, currants, dried apricots, and sugar stewed in water. Once chilled, this cold drink is served with pieces of fruit at the bottom of the glass.

6 Comments

  1. Megan says

    That sounds great after all this heat we have been getting! I can’t wait to see more info about the cucumber soup, it sounds delish!

  2. This is a cool menu! I believe that the Banitsa and Kyopoulou reflect Turkish influence. Bulgaria was conquered by Turkey and occupied by Turkey for 500 years, only achieving full independence in 1908.

    • Elitsa says

      I don’t think any Bulgarian considers kyopoulou a Bulgarian dish (the name itself is in Turkish, we don’t have a Bulgarian name for it) just as we call the Turkish style of making coffee “Turkish coffee”, yet many of us prepare it at home to this day.

      However, banitsa is a Bulgarian dish (you might notice the same suffix “-itsa” in my name. It’s a common suffix in the Bulgarian language). There are similar dishes in Turkey and in Greece (and likely in the other Balkan countries) but the recipe for this one is different from the others, hence we have our own name for it.

      It’s hard to say who influenced who as cultures, languages and cuisines inevitably intertwine between neighbouring countries. Bulgaria has a long history (e.g., the state of Bulgaria was founded in the lands of modern-day Bulgaria with this very name in 681 and has existed since then with two major cessations: for ca. 150 years under the Byzantine rule and for ca. 500 years under the Ottoman rule). Also, Bulgaria actually gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878.

  3. Temenuga Carriker says

    Everything Bulgarian is good, including me – Bulgarian woman married in Claremore, OK !
    Bravo Sasha for your table adventure!

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