Ottoman cuisine has made a significant contribution to Bulgarian cuisine, as it has to other Balkan countries. As a result, you’ll discover that it has many dishes in common with Turkish and Greek cuisine, but has various recipes and is less expensive.
Although lamb and veal are frequently found in traditional meals, consumption of meat and vegetables is roughly equal.
Magnificent Bulgarian dishes exist today thanks to a variety of contributions from various gastronomies and the country’s unique culture. Let’s skip the small talk and get to the dishes you’ve been craving.
Local Baked Food
Sarma – Stuffed Cabbage
Though it originated in the Ottoman Empire, “sarma” or “sarmi” is today recognized as a staple of Turkish cuisine. And when you arrive there, you shouldn’t skip the Bulgarian version of sarma.
It is frequently packed with ground beef or pork, bulgur or rice, with spices and herbs from Bulgaria. On the Christmas dinner table, there is a vegetarian alternative that is just as significant as “palneni chushki,” though.
Whatever the filling, vine or cabbage leaves is typically used for the wrapping.
Moussaka – Potatoes Casserole
Since the Greeks are the ones who invented the most well-known form, you would think of moussaka as a delicious side dish from Greece, but it actually originated in Middle Eastern cuisine. Additionally, in ordinary recipes, the residents of Bulgaria substitute potatoes for eggplant.
The yogurt topping, which gave the dish a distinctive flavor, maybe what has helped moussaka become a staple in modern Bulgarian cuisine. But rather than being something you can eat every day, this dish is more of an occasional treat.
The Bulgarians typically let their moussaka rest and evaporate after taking it out of the oven because it contains strong vegetables. So that it won’t become too mushy from the leakage of the vegetables, they next chop it into squares and serve it warm.
Palneni Chushki—Stuffed Peppers
Numerous cuisines serve stuffed bell peppers frequently, and the Bulgarian delicacy Palneni Chushki is a must-try. The stuffing can be altered depending on the season of the ingredients and the cook, and a vegetarian version is readily available.
Tikvenik – Pumpkin Strudel
Although this Bulgarian delicacy is a variation of the classic banitsa, it nonetheless claims its own name because it is so incredibly wonderful. This delicacy, which originated in the country’s north and honors the winter months, is a favorite among Bulgarians all year long.
Even though pumpkin strudel with cinnamon may be found in many different cuisines, the addition of walnuts to Bulgarian tikvenik makes it exceptional. Every foreigner who eats this compound flavor for the first time is astonished by how delicious it is.
Local Soups and Stews
Bulgarians are renowned for their water-based cuisine in addition to their exquisite baked items. You should delve into the substantial soups and foods listed below.
Shkembe Chorba – Tripe Soup
This soup is a delicious Bulgarian lunch recipe that will fill you up with a flavorful broth. The dish’s typical ingredients are tripes from pork, beef, or lamb, sometimes in place of tripes, vinegar, some milk, and mashed garlic.
Due to its high affordability, it used to be a popular soup in Bulgaria only among blue-collar employees. Before the 1980s, certain eateries and businesses solely offered shkembe chorba. During this time, fast-food chains started to take the place of quaint restaurants.
Oshav – Dried-Fruits Stew
The main ingredients in the traditional recipe for this meal are apples, prunes, and other dried fruits; pears are frequently added as well.
Although the results appear to be quite straightforward, Oshav also contains cinnamon and cloves when it is served, making it the ideal warm treat for the chilly holidays. Although it can be served hot or cold, the locals like it cold.
The ingredients for this chilled cucumber soup include cucumbers, walnuts, oil, garlic, and dill. This simple Bulgarian recipe only requires about 10 minutes of preparation time before cooking.
Making the soup at least 30 minutes before serving will allow it to cool in the refrigerator. Even ice cubes can be added because cold water is also blended in to thin the yogurt and ensure that it is lump-free. Tarator is a well-liked cold soup dish in Southeast Europe and the Middle East, where it is often prepared in several varieties.
Bob Chorba (Traditional Bulgarian Soup)
There are numerous varieties of this Bulgarian meal, with the “monastery” or vegetarian kind being the most well-liked.
Dry beans, onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and mint are the main components of this delectable traditional Bulgarian dish. Any accessible food, including meat, sausages, and other kinds of beans, can be used as an alternative. It’s the perfect side dish for a main course, but it can also be a substantial meal on its own for hungry, budget-conscious travelers.
MEAT / MAINS
It describes a flattened, cured sausage produced from a combination of pig and veal and spiced with cumin, salt, and black pepper, similar to sujuk but with a stronger flavor.
The seasoned beef mixture is stuffed into a dried cow’s intestine and hung to cure for around 40–50 days to produce lukanka. The sausage is pressed to give it its distinctive flat appearance when it dries. Once cooked, the sausage is finely sliced and typically served cold as an appetizer.
In essence, kufte is a meat patty comprised of ground beef, veal, pork, or any combination of the three. It is seasoned with cumin, onions, parsley, salt, and pepper. Savory ingredients can also be added for a wonderful flavor boost. Some people also add pepper flakes for a little spice.
A kufte, a pig steak, hog meat on a skewer, and a kebapche should all be included in this mixed grill dish, along with fries, bean salad, chopped onions, and lyutenitsa. This hefty pork dish pairs well with a few rounds of beer or rakia and is best enjoyed with close friends or family.
To know more about Bulgaria, we have compiled a list of places to visit; Top15 Places to visit in Bulgaria
It is not overstated to claim that sampling Bulgarian food will be pleasant for both your stomach and your wallet. Generally speaking, the cuisine of this Balkan country is fairly light and relaxing, allowing you to move from dish to dish throughout your entire journey.
Are your tastes represented in the article? Have you included a list of your favorite meals on your bucket list? Or perhaps you’ve tried one of those before. Post your responses in the comments area.