I can not stop eating this. Seriously. I haven’t found anything that this homemade ajvar relish cannot be used to. I’ve used it as a side-dish, as a sandwich spread, to dip potato chips in, you name it! It doesn’t hurt that it is really easy to make and only contain cheap ingredients that you can find on your local market (or grow by yourself if you’re a real pro).
Ajvar is used traditionally in Slovenian, Albanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian cuisine and you can find a lot of different variations of it. The most common one, however, is the traditional sweet Ajvar.
You don’t have to worry about cooking skills or have a close watch on your timer, homemade ajvar relish is easy to make. If you really want to do it properly, then you peel the vegetables after roasting, it’s not necessary, but good if you really want to impress. Invite a friend and do it together!
How to make homemade ajvar relish
The base for Ajvar is peppers and aubergine (eggplant). To get the sweet and smoky taste you need to roast and blacken the peppers and aubergine. This can be done in the oven, over an open flame or on the grill. In this recipe, I used the oven (I would have used the grill but the rainy weather didn’t allow me). The important thing is that you really blacken the skin of the vegetables so that you get that smoky flavour of the flesh.
Turn the oven up to 230 °C / 450 °F / Gas Mark 8 and put the peppers and aubergine on a non-stick cooking paper coated oven tray and bake until the skin of the aubergine and peppers have blackened significantly. This can take some time depending on your oven, but around 20-30 minutes. Regardless of your roasting method, the flesh should be soft and the skin wrinkly and black.
Let the vegetables rest in a pot or plastic bag (if they are covered they let off more moisture) until they are chilled off enough for you to handle with your hands. At this point, you can choose to peel them or not.
I used a household mixer with an s-blade to do the mixing but you can also cut the vegetables by yourself into really small pieces if you like it more chunky.
Throw all the ingredients except the olive oil into the blender and mix, adding oil as you go until you have your desired texture. Tastw with salt and pepper.
When finished with your homemade ajvar relish, pour it into a sealable jar. It holds up for about 14 days in the refrigerator.
Homemade Ajvar Relish
Homemade ajvar relish goes great as a side-dish, ingredient or dip for your bread or vegetable sticks. The smokey flavours come from blackening the vegetables prior to mixing them.
- 1 aubergine
- 2 red peppers
- 1/2 lemon (the juice)
- 1 red chilli
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
Pre-heat the oven to 230 °C / 450 °F / Gas Mark 8.
Roast the peppers and aubergine until the flesh is soft and the skin is wrinkly and blackened (around 20-30 minutes).
Let the aubergine and peppers cool off in a plastic bag or closed pot until cold enough to handle with your hands.
Peel the peppers and aubergine (optional).
Either cut or mix all of the ingredients except the olive oil into desired “chunkiness”.
Add olive oil a little bit at a time until you reach desired texture.
Taste with salt & pepper.
TIP! You can adjust the spiciness by removing the seeds and the white flesh from the chilli before adding it.