Serbian food is not well known all over the world but it has its own distinctive cuisine that makes it unique. The region has been a part of the Byzantine Empire and was ruled by the Greeks, and then by the Turkish Empire. Later on the same region was also influenced by Austro-Hungarian cultures resulting in a current Serbian cuisine and recipes.
Historical and Cultural Influences on Serbian Cuisine
This region has traditionally been very volatile as its sits right in the middle of a several geographically distinct locations. The current local Serbian cuisine is a mix of western, Turkish, Greek foods that have been adapted to suit local Serbian food tastes
Ingredients Commonly Used in Serbian Foods
Serbians like a larger amount of meat in their dishes. Grilled meat in the form of barbeques, fried meat and sausages are very popular in Serbian food. Ingredients that are popularly used include bread, meats, fruits and vegetables. Eggs are very commonly used in Serbian food. Peppers are commonly used in many dishes to flavor the Serbian food but baked meats, breads and desserts are much more common. Another local must is the use of Turkish coffee that is brewed and served in small cups. Alcohol and beer is served at dinner and is an integral part of the cuisine. Fish is not very commonly cooked.
Traditional Dishes of Serbian Cuisine
There are several local Serbian food varieties that are very popular like
- Kevapiki that is meat rolls or balls served with warm bread and onions
- Sarma or stuffed cabbage rolls filled with meat and braised in stock.
- Cvarci or pork crisps
- Sausages like Blood sausage, kule, sremska or mixed beef sausage
- Head cheese
A Complete Serbian food and Diet Routine
A typical Serbian cuisine breakfast starts with a cup of Turkish coffee or espresso, and is served with butter, jam, sour cream and cheese. Pastries might be served that are filled with meat, or jam. Kacamak or a variety of polenta, eggs, proja or cornbread, sandwiches, borek or filled pastries, or popara that is created from cooked day old bread are all served at breakfast. Some families may also serve different varieties of hot soup made from meat, fish, poultry or vegetables. Soups are thickened with roux or browned flour to make them substantial. Lunch and dinner will always have a main meat dish that is served with bread, or baked flour items. Popular meat dishes include pungena or paprika which is peppered meat with rice and tomato sauve filled into peppers and baked, dumplings with potatoes and cabbage and podvarak or stewed sauerkraut with meat and bacon pieces. Barbequed meats also accompany dinner dishes. Cheese and thick cream or sour cream called as Kajmak is served at every meal and is an integral part of the cuisine. Other varieties of cheese, yoghurt, and brined cheese are also sampled at meals. Beer, wine and fruit brandies are served at dinner depending on personal preferences.
Serbian cuisine, Serbian Food Habits and Etiquette
Slavs are very family oriented and all major occasions are celebrated together. The Christmas meal is a high tradition that is celebrated with the entire family together. Roasted piglet is the main course along with a wide variety of dishes. Cesnica is a traditional bread dish that has a coin inside it. Diners break the bread together during the Christmas meal and the person who finds the coin is guaranteed good luck all through the New Year.
Serbian Food Trivia
Distilled beverages or fruit brandies are very popular in the region called Rakija. There are many varieties that are commercially made but an equal amount are home brewed and are highly valued. The most popular are slivovitz, lozovaca or grape brandy, vilijamovka or pear brandy, jabukovaca or applejack.