Аjvar is a the most favorite Macedonian traditional peppers dish which marks the beginning of fall/winter season. It's a spread made of red peppers, but not any red peppers, but the Macedonian variety of red peppers named "ajvarka". Ajvar is known as an ideal companion to cold winters, it's a food that has no adequate replacement, and in combination with cheese, it creates irreplaceable and unique pleasure in your mouth. Similar to ajvar (which I call them ajvar's brothers) are malidzano and lutenica, also very popular products from Macedonia.

The preparation of ajvar is somewhat difficult process, but in the end, product is really worth the labor! Every household has a characteristic homemade ajvar preparation. Homemade ajvar simply abounds with rich flavor and stands out with its uniqueness! The process of preparation is simple, just carefully follow the instructions. The dosage is for 20 kg of peppers, you can reduce or increase ingredients proportionally. Also, there are households that prepare ajvar only with peppers, so you can replace eggplants here by adding 5 kg of peppers. I personally like the taste better with eggplants, so I stick to this recipe.

  • 20 kg red peppers 
  • 10 pieces eggplants 
  • 2 l oil 
  • 200 g sugar 
  • 200 ml wine vinegar
  • salt to taste
  1. Bake peppers on a hotplate or on a stove, peel and clean seeds. Leave cooled peppers to drain and continue with work in several hours. 
  2. Then, bake eggplants, peel and drain. Grind drained peppers and eggplants in a meat grinding machine and place the mixture into a large pot and start to cook. Add vinegar and sugar and stir.
  3. Fry around  30 minutes. Stir continuously with a large wooden spoon and after 30 minutes gradually add the oil and stir constantly. Note that oil should not be visible on top. Fry for another 1 hour.
  4. Add salt to taste twenty minutes before finishing. 
  5. How to know if ajvar is ready? While stirring, if your big spoon leaves a trail at the bottom so you can see the bottom of the pot, then, you know that ajvar is ready. Overall cooking time should be around 90 minutes.
  6. Prepare the jars while ajvar is still cooking. Heat them in an oven at 50 C degrees. Fill jars with ajvar after removing from heat. Jars should be hot and ajvar should be also hot. Close well the lids. Keep jars in a dark place.
  7. Homemade ajvar is ready to eat! Take a piece of cheese and warm bread and your appetizing fun can begin! ajvar and bread