Red is the color of love, but in this case the love is called paprika.
Probably one of the most favorite vegetables across Serbia, this veggie is easily found in a wide range of different recipes - from chutneys, to pickles, from cold entrees, to warm soul-filling dishes.
This particular one is sold during the year but most commonly eaten during the winter time, especially when some holidays require fasting or vegetarian diet.
When fresh, juicy and crunchy, such paprikas are firstly thoroughly cleaned and then dried either on the sun or in special kinds of drying chambers. After they lose all the water, they are pressed and packed.
They always come in packages of 10 or more in order to make each other moist enough until consumed.
Speaking of consumption, the most common way to prepare such paprikas is to fill them with rice, simmered onions, crushed walnuts, fresh parsley and spices such as grounded cumin or muscat nut. Afterwards, they are placed in a heatproof dish, soaked with water - dissolved with powder paprika, oil and pepper - and are baked until liquids almost vanish.
After it gets served, the best part is probably the characteristic flavor that comes from paprika and its odor that whispers Love is in the air!
Think twice before you say this dessert is made with a chocolate filling.
In fact, what is inside might catch you by surprise as it is pure poppy seed filling, done with sugar, just a few raisins to break the granulated texture, a bit of milk to make it more “pasty” and a dash of a strong spirit like rum or liquor to add a spark to the flavour.
Being abundant across the region, poppy seeds are not only very common as a coating for savoury treats, they are also very popular in desserts.
This poppy pie or strudel is probably one of those delights you either love or hate. In our case – we cherished it to the very last seed :)
Buying one at Kalenic green market is definitely your stairway to heaven and a safe path to the best poppy strudels in town.
The combination of neutral white flour dough, slightly buttery just to maintain the moist, and the rich poppy filling is a rustic yet very particular combination that you may opt for in the mornings as a fulfilling breakfast option, or as an afternoon snack during the sugar drop hour. Recipes are countless, thus is hard to tell which one is the best, but for sure sharpen your sights and choose a pie rich in the filling.
P.S. Prepare as well a mirror for after you are done. Poppies can seriously interfere with your smile.