Menemen is a Turkish dish which is very similar to a Bulgarian dish called Mish-Mash. Fair bit of Bulgarian cuisine is inspired by Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine so it’s hardly surprising. The main ingredients are onions, tomatoes, peppers and eggs. While the finished version doesn’t look the most appealing, it is indeed really tasty, especially when topped with feta and served with crusty bread or warm flatbreads. This makes a nice light dinner dish when served with salad, but it’s equally lovely for breakfast. Slightly adapted from a Waitrose & Partners Food magazine recipe.
More dishes with eggs: Green Eggs; Spanish Baked Eggs; Two Ways with Eggs & Chorizo.
Menemen with peppers and feta
Serves 3-4 | Prep 10 mins | Cooking time 15 mins
Easy | Vegetarian | Gluten-Free
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil;
- 227g can chopped tomatoes;
- 1 onion, finely chopped;
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed;
- 1 tsp chilli flakes, plus extra to serve;
- ½ tsp dried oregano;
- 2 pointed peppers, sliced;
- 8 eggs, beaten;
- 100g feta, crumbled;
- ¼ x 25g pack flat leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped
Put the oil in a large non-stick pan and set over a medium heat. Add the onion, chilli flakes, oregano and peppers and cook for a couple of minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, before you add the tomatoes. Season and cook gently for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened and the sauce has reduced.
Add the beaten egg, season and gently stir until scrambled and barely set. Remove from the heat, scatter over the feta, parsley and a few more chilli flakes. Serve with pickled chillies, crispy bread or warm flatbread. You can also serve with salad if making for lunch or dinner.
Original recipe from Waitrose & Partners Food, April 2019 issue, available online here.
My grandmother will tell you just how much I loved these simple meatballs in white sauce growing up. I’m not quite sure who they will play with a non- Bulgarian audience, but I love them to this day so wanted to share them with you. First of all, the meatballs are boiled instead of fried or baked and contain rice. Second of all, meatballs and Fricassee sauce is not a very usual combination… but give it a try! Who knows, maybe you’ll love it too.
This recipe used savoury (chubritsa) which is an ingredient that can be hard to find in the UK. Savoury is very integral to Bulgarian cuisine and it’s very commonly used in our dishes. I’ve added a link to amazon below but if you are really stuck you can use marjoram instead.
More in meatballs: Vegan chickpea & squash ‘meat’ balls with vegan mayo, Swedish Meatballs with Potato Salad
Bulgarian Meatballs in white Fricassee sauce
Serves 4 | Prep 15 mins | Cook 40 mins
- 500g pork mince;
- 1 onion, finely chopped;
- 75g rice;
- 4 eggs;
- Savoury (chubritsa);
- 3-4 tbsp plain flour + extra for the meatballs;
- 500g yogurt;
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped.
To make the meatballs, mix the pork mince, onion, rice, one egg, 1/2 handful chopped parsley and a generous pinch savoury. Form meatballs roughly the size of a golf ball in your hands. Add a couple of tbsps flour to a plate and coat the meatballs with it. In a deep sauce pan boil about 1 litre of water. When boiling, add the meatballs and let them cook for 30-40 minutes, gently simmering, until ready.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Whisk the eggs with the yogurt and the flour. Set aside until the meatballs have finished cooking.
When the meatballs have finished cooking, add 2-3 ladles of the meatball stock, taking care to add it slowly and stir well so the eggs don’t scramble. Mix well and then add to a deep frying pan. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened, adding the meatballs for the final 2-3 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes and sprinkled generously with chopped parsley.
Shopska Salata is a firm staple in the Bulgarian kitchen. Often served as a starter, or as a side, you will find it on the table of almost every Bulgarian home and on the menu of pretty much every restaurant in Bulgaria. It’s delicious, easy to make and perfect side to any meal.
Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | No Cook | Easy | Gluten-free, Vegetarian
- 2 large beef tomatoes;
- 1 cucumber;
- 1/2 or 1 small red onion;
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley;
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil;
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar;
- 75g feta cheese;
Roughly chop the tomatoes, quarter and slice the cucumber, finely chop the onion and mix in a salad bowl with the parsley. When you are ready to serve, add the oil and vinegar and mix the salad. Crumble the feta cheese on top of the salad and serve.
You would have no doubt heard of the dish Moussaka. It’s a very popular dish from the Balkans and the Middle East, usually made with potatoes or aubergines and minced meat. In the UK the most popular variety is the Greek one, which is made with aubergines and lamb mince. However, the Bulgarian version uses potatoes and a mix of pork and beef mince. This is one of the most popular dishes in Bulgaria and a firm favourite for any Bulgarian.
Serves 6 | Prep 10 minutes | Cooks 1 hr | Easy
- 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil;
- 300g pork mince;
- 200g beef mince;
- 2 onions, finely chopped;
- 2 tomatoes, chopped;
- 1 tbsp tomato puree;
- 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped;
- 1 tsp dried savory (it’s not a very popular herb in the UK, but you can get some from amazon here);
- 1 kg potatoes, pealed and cubed;
- 250 ml vegetable stock.
For the topping:
- 2 eggs, beaten;
- 1 tbsp plain flour;
- 400g yogurt;
Pre-heat the oven to 240C/ 220C fan/gas mark 7. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and mince until the onion has softened and the mince has browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, savory and the parsley. Season to taste.
Cook for a few minutes before adding the potatoes and add the stock. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the potatoes soften a little bit. Transfer everything into a large enough roasting tin and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.
For the topping: beat the eggs, flour and yogurt. Take the moussaka out the oven, cover with the topping and bake for another 10-15 minutes until browned. If you are struggling to get a nicely brown colour on the topping, put under a hot grill for another 5 or so minutes.
Serve with some yogurt on the side, Bulgarian Shopska Salad and with a sprinkle of parsley.
I hope you will enjoy yet another Bulgarian recipe and if you were looking for more, there are a few more on the blog.
A roast pepper salad is often found on the Bulgarian table, and you know this is a Bulgarian recipe because of the amount of garlic in it! However, don’t let that put you off as I can assure you that this is one of the best side salads you can have! Simple and usually only including a couple of ingredients, it makes a great side to almost anything. It smells so appetising (freshly cut garlic and herbs) and no matter how full I am, I always have a bit more space to finish this particular salad. Typically it would only include roast peppers, parsley, garlic and a dressing of sunflower oil & vinegar, however, this variation adds a few other ingredients which make it even tastier!
Simple roast pepper & tomato salad
You can make this salad in advance. In fact, the longer you let it sit, the tastier it will be!
Serves: 4 (as a side) | Takes: 10 minutes, no cooking | Vegan | Easy
- 500g jar roast peppers, drained and sliced;
- 3-4 tomatoes, roughly chopped;
- A handful each basil and parsley, chopped;
- 2-3tbsp sunflower oil;
- 2 tbsp caster sugar;
- 4-5 tbsp red wine vinegar;
- 1 tbsp sea salt;
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl all of the ingredients apart from the peppers and tomatoes and mix well.
- Mix the tomatoes and peppers in a medium bowl. Add the dressing and leave for about 15 minutes before serving, though you can let it sit and prepare in advance. The longer you let it sit the more flavour it will pack.
I hope you enjoy making this and trying some more Bulgarian food!