22 Delicious Macedonian Dishes You Should Know About

Macedonia, a small country belonging to Former Yugoslavia, is a hidden Balkan gem. Here are a few traditional Macedonian dishes that may or may not cause salivation.

1. Burek

A delicious and savoury puff pastry that will fulfill your love/hate relationship with carbs. Some typical fillings for burek include feta cheese, spinach, minced meat and/or potatoes. Yes, the more carbs, the better.

Check it out here.

2. Musaka

Besides its amusing pronunciation, musaka is a delicious potato-based dish. Musaka is a popular dish that is served in Macedonia and other Eastern European countries. Musaka is a layered dish, mainly consisting of sliced potatoes. In between each tender and ooey-gooey layer lies a bed full of eggplant, onion, ground meat and an assortment of veggies. The top layer is usually finished with a beautiful egg-yolk glaze, giving it a wonderfully golden colour and crispy texture.

3. Tavce Gravce

Any child who grew up in a Macedonian household knows very well that this was certainly not your preferred choice of dinner. However, as you grew into the fine, well rounded and cultured adult you are today (one can only dream, right?), you have acquired the taste for this hearty dish. Tavce gravce (literally meaning beans cooked in a skillet) is a thick and chunky bean stew that is cooked in the traditional Macedonian earthenware. Tavce gravce has a variety of different spices and vegetables that enhance its flavour, including fresh Macedonian paprika.

4. Sarma

Okay, so cabbage rolls may not be everyone’s idea of delicious, but I can seriously vouch for this particular recipe. Sarma does not necessarily have to use cabbage for the “rolls”. A common substitute for this dish is grape leaves, which are equally as tasty. Minced meat, onion, paprika and chopped veggies compose the filling of this dish. Sarma is typically served with a few heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt.

5. Kebapi

This one’s for all you meat lovers out there. Kebapi, similar to what we all know and love as sausages, are grilled minced meat composed into the shape of a sausage. Onions, vegeta (which is a very popular mixture of Macedonian herbs) and paprika are what give this dish its savoury flavour. Kebapi are usually served with freshly baked flatbread and kajmak, which is similar to sour cream (maybe even tastier?)

6. Pastrmajlija

Drop everything you’re doing and stop right there. Pastrmajlija is an oval shaped fried dough pie. I don’t know about you, but anything that includes the words “fried” and “dough”, already has me sold. Pastrmajlija is usually topped with salted, cubed meat. There’s even a national festival for this dish in Macedonia - that’s how freakin’ good it is.

7. Ajvar

Okay, so this is not technically a dish on its own. However, when combined with the magical power of feta cheese and warm, oven fresh bread, ajvar can totally justify as a meal. Ajvar is a delicious relish like blend consisting of roasted red bell peppers, paprika and garlic. If you’re in Canada, you can usually find this in the international aisle of your local grocery store.

8. Polneti Piperki

Literally meaning “stuffed peppers”, polneti piperki are both a popular and delightful dish. Bell peppers are stuffed with rice, ground meat, spices and chopped veggies then roasted in the oven to perfection.

9. Turli Tava

If you love a good and hearty stew, turli tava is the dish for you. Another typical Macedonian dish cooked in the traditional earthenware. Turli tava consists of okra, potatoes, eggplant, ground meat, peppers, carrots, rice and onion. Again, this dish is usually served with a side of plain yogurt.

10. Pindjur

Pindjur, is another popular and delectable relish like spread. This spread is more so popular during the warmer months of the year. Pindjur consists of roasted eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and olive oil. Typically served with fresh feta cheese, bread and marinated olives.

11. Mekici

Again, who doesn’t love fried dough? Mekici, a popular Macedonian and Eastern European delicacy, are fried kneaded dough that can be served as a savoury dish or sweet. The secret to its chewy and irresistible texture is yogurt.

12. Selsko Meso

Just like baba used to make, am I right? Selsko meso is a very traditional pork or beef dish prepared in an earthenware clay pot. This dish consists of onions, mushrooms, spices, tomatoes and some yummy smoked meat which gives this dish the distinct flavour it is known for.

13. Zelnik

Yet another phyllo stuffed pastry. What gives zelnik its distinct flavour? Cabbage. This pastry is loaded with feta cheese, leeks, eggs, spinach and ground meat.

14. Kompir Mandza

This directly translates into “potato stew”. Whenever baba makes kompir mandza, the house smells like heaven and I shed a tear as I reminisce of the old country. The longer this stew cooks, the better. The bulk of this hearty stew relies on chunky potatoes, meat, parsley, tomato, onion, garlic and carrots.

15. Kačamak

Because one cannot live life without having tried the exquisite and endless possibilities polenta gives us. Kacamak, a very popular dish in Macedonia, is a thick and creamy mixture of cornmeal that is usually topped with crumbled feta cheese and yogurt.

16. Kifli

Kifli may just possibly be my all time favourite Macedonian delicacy. They are so versatile, so delicious, so flaky… need I go on? Rolled into the shape of a croissant, kifli are rolls made from yeast and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Kifli are typically either filled with feta cheese or a sweet jam and topped with confectioner’s sugar.

17. Shopska Salata

Macedonia has it’s own national salad. How about that? An all time favourite, this salad consists of big chunks of tomato, peppers, cucumber an onion. The best part? Shopska salata is topped with a generous amount of feta cheese. Yum.

18. Palacinki

Palacinki are Macedonia’s idea (and many other Balkan countries) take on the French crepe. A little thicker, but just as scrumptious. A variety of serving options are applicable here - Eurokrem (Macedonian Nutella), feta cheese, sweet jam, honey and nuts ext.

19. Tulumbi

A common dessert in many Eastern European countries, and a definite favourite in Macedonia, tulumbi are fried rolls of dough that are soaked in honey and nuts. Squeezing tulumbi through a ridged nozzle give this dessert its unique shape.

20. Ekleri

Quite possibly one of the greatest Macedonian desserts of all time. Similar to an eclair, ekleri much lighter and flaky. Suddenly, I’m seriously craving one. Where’s my baba?

21. Sutlijach

Sutlijach creamy, mouthwatering and decadent Macedonian rice pudding. Need I say more?

22. Vanilici

Vanilici, literally meaning mini vanilla cookies, are a Macedonian favourite. These cookies are rich, buttery and flaky that have a wonderful vanilla essence. Vanilici are typically sandwiched between a homemade fruit jam and garnished with a generous sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar.

23. Bombici

Alas, we save the best for last. Bombici, translating into “miniature bombs”, are delicious truffles consisting of a date, almond, fig and cocoa powder mixture. These babies are covered in a rich and decadent chocolate ganache and rolled in coconut flakes. Hungry yet?

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