They say there are as many ways to make ajvar (pronounced “ayvar”) as there are mountain valleys in Eastern Europe. Ajvar recipe, or acvar is a popular dish of Serbian origin. It’s smokey, salty and known as vegetarian caviar.

The ratio of eggplant and bell pepper, and the consistency of the mash varies in recipes from different regions. Some recipes add more red bell peppers and make smoother mash. Since I’m a big fan of eggplants, my recipe has more of that and less bell pepper. It makes a creamier and less sweet version of ajvar. Also, I like to keep it a bit chunky unlike the puréed stuff available in jars. But you can lightly whiz it in a food processor if you want a sauce like texture.

Traditionally, the vegetables are charred on grills but placing them directly over stove top gas burner works just fine. Some recipes recommend removing the charred skins under running water, it definitely makes it easier to remove the skins but you’ll loose a lot of the charred flavour with it too and get some unwanted liquid in dish.

This warm salad makes a perfect addition to mezze menu or a delicious starter served with some fresh bread, yogurt and pickles.


2 eggplants
1 red bell pepper
4 red chilli peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
a small bunch parsley, chopped
salt to taste

This Is What You Do:

Thread the eggplant and bell pepper onto two skewers or knives. Place them directly on a gas flame. Keep turning every 2-3 minutes till the skin is burnt all over. Place them in a bowl and cover with lid to allow them to sweat for 5 minutes. When cool, remove the skins.

Remove the stalks and chop the pulp of pepper and eggplant roughly. Set aside.

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat, add sugar, onion and garlic. Sauté for a 2-3 minutes or till the onion is light golden. Add chopped pepper and eggplant, add lemon juice and vinegar.

Season with salt and stir in red chilli peppers and parsley. Mix everything well. Serve warm in mezze menu or with pita bread.

Serves 2

6 Replies to “Ajvar Recipe, Grilled Pepper and Eggplant Mash”

    1. Thank you so much Olga! 🙂 Ajvar really is a very flavourful dish, I’m so happy you like my version 🙂

  1. I would like you to join our Pakistani Female Bloggers Page. We have just started to find all female pro bloggers. Would really be glad to have you there.

    1. Thank you so much for sending me the invite! 🙂 It would be sheer pleasure to join all the talented and lovely ladies on a Pakistani platform.

    1. Thank you so much Kushi 🙂 this one is favourite vegetarian recipe. I’m glad you like it too 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *