I bought a jar of Aivar it’s a mix of chargrilled peppers with aubergine that is made throughout the Balkans. When I saw how few ingredients it contains I decided to try making it myself.
When I bought the dragon fruit yesterday I saw this jar of Aivar. I remembered eating this kind of thing on holidays last year. It is so so yummy. It’s sweet and creamy and just delicious.
Naturally I checked to see what exactly was in it. Chargrilled peppers (70%), chargrilled aubergine (20%), sunflower oil (9%) and salt (1%). That’s it. Isn’t that fantastic? It tastes so good and it’s just the natural gorgeousness of the ingredients.
I found a recipe for Ajvar which is the Croatian name for this. It’s a good recipe – very easy to follow. Aivar is Macedonian. But I think each of the countries in that region have a version of this. It’s yummy.
I didn’t actually follow that recipe though. Nor did I stick to the ratio of peppers to aubergine on the ingredients list. I wasn’t going to buy that many peppers or make a big batch of this. I just wanted to see how easy it would be to make this at home. Now, it’s possible you can find this in most supermarkets but I hadn’t noticed it before so … I wanted to see if I could make it in case I don’t come across it again.
I made my small batch with 4 peppers and 1 aubergine. It’s a pain to make to be honest. Anytime I’ve roasted peppers before I’ve cored and deseeded them first. I didn’t do that here because I wanted to use as much of the flesh as possible and I wanted them to remain as moist as possible. Taking off the skin was easy enough. Removing the seeds was … just so messy and took me a long time. They kept sticking to my fingers, kept getting mixed back in with the flesh – very annoying.
I began to suspect that I wouldn’t like what I made half so much. Honestly, the jar is better, it’s a little more oily I think. I might have overcooked the paste. But I was surprised how good the homemade stuff was. Considering I had way more aubergine to peppers than the original version I would have expected it to be much less sweet but it wasn’t really.
Eventhough it’s annoying to make I may well do so again. If I have trouble finding the stuff in the shops, that is. And I’ll make much more of it next time.
Oh and I tried nutritional yeast as a topping for it. Nutritional yeast is a vegan source of vitamin B12. If it’s fortified with B12 that is. B12 is so essential for your health. And this stuff has a shelf-life of 3 years! Love that.