Ever since I posted cauliflower breadsticks recipe over 2 years ago and mentioned that I served them with my mom’s Ukrainian salsa, I have been constantly bombarded with requests for the recipe. I never anticipated “the breadsticks” to be such a hit and least expected Ukrainian salsa to be another hit. Just never know.
So, I asked my mom for the recipe. If you ever ask a European woman for a recipe you will hear a lot about eyeballs. Totally anti-North American. I myself am a cross of measuring cups and spoons with eyeballs now.
So, I dragged on and on to develop my own version of adjika recipe that is close to mom’s. Finally, this year I got inspired by the taste of real tomatoes we have been enjoying all summer long. I honestly have no idea how I am going to go back to store-bought tomatoes. The only version I can stomach in winter is expensive tomatoes on the vine. Sigh.
It is expensive to have a good taste. Sigh.
Before we go into the nitty gritty of the recipe, let me forewarn you. This is not true Ukrainian recipe but rather has originated in Georgia or some other former USSR republic. Adjika recipe has been prepared by all women of former USSR at the end of summer. And my mom made it in Ukraine all her life.
Also before I start receiving history lessons on how not all Slavic people are “Russians” and adjika is not Ukrainian etc. I KNOW! Please save your energy. I know! I know! But this is my blog and this is what I wanted to call this recipe. Amen.
Adjika recipe is meant to be canned. But I don’t can. Just like I barely bake except tons of healthy chocolate muffins and healthy banana muffins for my always hungry boys. I just placed adjika in 8 oz Mason jars. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks or frozen for 3 months.
Adjika sauce is basically cooked mixture of tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, apples flavoured with garlic, spices, oil and vinegar. My version contains less oil because it doesn’t have to be canned.
Now onto the process. You want vegetables and fruit (technically tomato is a fruit) to be finely ground. When my mom made adjika she used manual meat grinder like the one you can buy with a Kitchenaid mixer nowadays. She would clamp the cast iron meat grinder to a kitchen table placing wooden pads in-between to avoid damage to the table. I still remember how much fun it was to grind fruit and veggies this way. It was easy.
But I absolutely hated grinding meat because it was so hard the table was moving. In Ukraine, ground meat wasn’t available, so you had to make your own. More work but at least you knew it didn’t contain fats, hair, tails and ears. Even if it was sold in stores my grandma would have never bought it claiming it could be a dog meat.:)
Today, being blessed to live an American dream life, I used a food processor. Just make sure everything is ground coarsely and not pureed.
Above is a photo of adjika mixture before cooking. And below it is dressed and cooked. Voila.
A few things to note. I used original Russian recipe which called for parsley (which I can’t seem to find now online but let be it because you wouldn’t understand a word anyways). After I added parsley I remembered my mom never did and I didn’t like this addition. So, I skipped it in my recipe.
You can certainly cut the recipe in half or quarter as the final yield is 14 cups.
I used yellow bell pepper but red one would work better for the final colour. I just didn’t have red one on hand.
I had only 1 hot red chili pepper and substituted with extra red pepper flakes. You can use 2 peppers and skip red pepper flakes. If you still want to make adjika more spicy, add red pepper flakes to cooled cooked adjika to taste.
And my mom tasted my version of adjika and said she would add more garlic. Of course. Adjust to taste, more or less. Depends. Also note certain farmers market’s garlic variety is much more intense in flavour than store-bought one. You know what I mean?! Enjoy!
This recipe is devoted to my mom. She left yesterday and I have been crying since. It is just when your parents get older you don’t know when is the last time…
- 4 lbs Roma tomatoes coarsely chopped
- 1 lb red bell peppers seeded & coarsely chopped
- 2 medium carrots coarsely chopped
- 1 lb green apples cored & coarsely chopped*
- 1/2 lb yellow onions coarsely chopped
- 1 hot chili pepper coarsely chopped (not seeded)**
- 15 whole black peppercorns
- 7 bay leaves
- 6-8 large garlic cloves crushed**
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 tbsp himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- Add peppercorns and bay leaves; stir well. Bring to a boil on high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
- Add garlic, oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, red pepper flakes and stir. Cook covered on low for another 20 minutes. Transfer to Mason or any glass jars and let cool before serving. I like adjika cold.
Store: Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months. Leave room for expansion when filling the jars.
- *Granny Smith apples or the sour green apples from your backyard that never get to ripen before the worms attack it would work.
- **Adjust spiciness and amount of garlic to your taste after a pot of cooked salsa has cooled down a bit. You can use more fresh hot peppers and skip red pepper flakes.
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