Struggling to get your “2&5”? Tired of bringing the same old dip ‘n’ chips to every get-together? Well, you might want to try this delicious dip packed full of healthy and flavoursome ingredients. Ajvar is a Macedonian dish made traditionally using fire-roasted red capsicum and eggplant and it comes in many variations. It is perfect as a year-round dip as it can be served warm or cold.
The roasting creates a beautiful caramelised flavour and adds sweetness to this zesty dip. You would never know by eating it how packed full of vegetables this “ajvar” really is!
You can add garlic, chilli, paprika or fresh herbs, and you can even use different types of oils and vinegars to produce a different flavour each time you make it.
This recipe is for the most basic of ajvars and is simply delicious served alongside bread, crackers, or vegetables and as a salad or sandwich topping! For variations on this recipe, try these ideas:
– Add 2 cloves crushed garlic
– Add 1 teaspoon of paprika or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (chilli) pepper for a smoked or spicy flavour
– Chop 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley or coriander and add before blending
– Use balsamic vinegar or lemon juice in place of the apple cider vinegar for a more fruity zing
– Use your favourite oil if you don’t have olive oil
- 3 medium eggplants
- Salt for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup olive oil (for eggplants)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for capsicum or sweet chillis)
- 2 red capsicum or 5 sweet chillis
- 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- To prepare the eggplants, slice into 1cm thick pieces. Note: you may choose to peel the skin before slicing, as the skin can sometimes be bitter. Place on trays lined with paper towels or clean tea towels and sprinkle lightly with salt on both sides. Cover with more towels and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC. To cook, remove the paper/tea towels, line the eggplant on a lightly oiled tray and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the eggplant is cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- While the eggplants are cooking place the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide saucepan and heat to medium. Place the whole capsicums (or sweet chillis) in the pan and, using tongs or by grabbing the stem, rotate onto each side, including the bottom, every 3-4 minutes or until the skin is nearly blackened and the flesh is soft. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
- To remove the stem and seeds from the capsicums/chillis, simply use a small knife to cut around the stem and pull out. This should also remove the seeds with it but if not, just scrape out the seeds with a knife.
- To finish, place the eggplant, capsicum, vinegar, salt, and any other ingredients (see “Variations” below) in a food processor or blender and chop until it is a spreadable, creamy-like consistency.
- Serve with bread, crackers, or veggies and enjoy!
- Yields 3 cups