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Food Homecooked Meals

Coconut phyllo rolls (coconut baklava rolls)

As the rest of the Balkan countries, pastries (sweet and savory) made out of phyllo dough is an everyday food here in Serbia. The famous Serbian Gibanica or cheese pie, baklava, and pita or pie from all kinds of filling possible. For the savory, there is mushroom, feta cheese, white cheese, spinach, smoked meat, ground meat and a combination of some of those stuff. Think of any fruit and a pie can be made from almost (ALMOST) all of it. Some of them I tried, some I have yet to try. Today, I was inspired by a recipe I saw online. If you are familiar with baklava rolls or baklava cigars, this recipe is a bit similar but it uses dried coconut instead of walnuts. The recipe that I saw is in Serbian so I thought I would share an english version with some tips and modifications to the process. Aside from that, all credits for the recipe are given to Ema, the author of the recipe on recepti.com. Please click here for the original version.

pita sa kokosom

And here is the English version:

  • 1 pack (500g) Phyllo or Filo dough
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 grams white sugar
  • 200 ml sunflower oil or canola oil
  • 300 ml jogurt
  • 1 packet (12 grams) baking powder
  • 200 grams coconut flour

For the syrup:

  • 800 ml water
  • 600 grams white sugar
  • 2 packets vanilla sugar
coconut pastry rolls

Instructions:

Preheat the oven at 200°C or 392°F . Prepare the filling, beat the eggs and sugar together, then add the oil and yogurt. Mix well. Add the coconut flour and baking powder. Lay one sheet of phyllo dough and you can brush or spray with oil. Add another layer then add the filling at one end of the dough (like how you will fill a spring roll). Then just roll the pastry and place in a big baking pan, also brushed or sprayed with oil. Repeat the process until all the filling is used up. Cut the pastry into desired serving size. Brush the top with oil or melted butter or a mixture of both. Bake until golden brown.

While the pastry is baking, make the syrup. Add all ingredients in one pot and let it simmer or just until the sugar is dissolved. No need for a thick syrup. Rest the syrup and let it cool.

Pour the syrup over baked pastry and let it rest so it can absorb the syrup.

coconut baklava rolls

Tips:

  • In supermarkets, you will most likely find the thin phyllo dough which is for baklava, so I didn’t followed the original recipe which calls for 1 ½ sheet of dough.
  • We call it coconut flour in Serbia, but you can also use dessicated coconut if you can’t find coconut flour
  • For the syrup, the recipe calls for vanilla sugar but can just add a few drops of vanilla or vanilla essence. Also, you can adjust the recipe of the syrup if you feel that the amount of sugar is too much for you.
  • You can count the number of phyllo sheets in advance so you know how to allocate your filling.
  • If you refer to the original recipe, it uses cups which in Serbian cooking means a plastic cup you can find as a packaging for yogurts. The measurement now varies from 180 ml to 200 ml.
  • For baking time, it depends on your judgment. This pastry is not so sensitive so no need to be very precise in baking time. Just make sure it doesn’t burn. You can also just bake it in 200°C for the first 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C for the rest of the baking time or until you can see that it is ready.
Categories
Food Homecooked Meals

Roasted Red Pepper dip (Ajvar)

Ajvar (pronounced as ay-var) can be considered as the “Serbian Vegetable Caviar” and is a must-try for all the foodies out there. It is made of roasted red bell peppers and sometimes combined with eggplants. Mostly prepared in the middle of autumn where you will see tons (literally… tons and tons) of red peppers and can last until the early days of spring for most people. It’s just so hard not to eat all the home-made ajvar before mid-winter. Ajvar is so versatile and it just makes everything in your pantry taste better. It can be enjoyed as a spread, as a dip for potato chips, a side dish to your meat and as I said “everything that comes to your mind”, but let me tell you that if you eat ajvar with some domestic white cheese, then you reached the peak of ajvar goodness.

Baguette with Ajvar and White Cheese

As much as I love homemade ajvar, there are a few brands of ajvar available in our local supermarkets which are just as good. Wherever you are in the world, I would recommend trying this condiment or visit our lovely Serbia.

Categories
Food Homecooked Meals

Serbian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Sarma)

sarma and paprika salad

Stuffed Cabbage rolls or more popularly known as Sarma is a local Serbian dish in Serbia. There is a wide variety of recipes for sarma out there with different ingredients for the filling, different way of cooking, etc… It can also be made with fresh cabbage or sauerkraut leaves.

Today, I made the vegan version of cabbage rolls with a stuffing of rice, mushrooms, lots of minced onions and scallions. Grated  or minced carrots are also good and basically whatever you have in your pantry which you think will not ruin the recipe. Yup, I’m no follower of recipes to the letter especially for meals. I usually change recipes to my liking or to whatever ingredients are available at the moment. If you’re using sauerkraut, then salt is not needed. Just add a sprinkle of paprika, pepper, bay leaf, a bit of olive oil, water and you’re good to go. Prepare the rolls a bit similar to how you will put together a spring roll and simmer it at a very low heat for hours. Some prefer to bake it but I do prefer to just leave it on the stove for hours.

The original and non-vegan version calls for ground meat. Just sautee the onions until translucent, add the meat and let it fry for a while, add the rice, add grated carrots (optional; I try my best to veggies when I can) and a pinch of salt and pepper. After a few minutes, turn off the fire and fill your cabbage. It is best to lay some smoked meat or bacon at the bottom of the pot and a splash of oil. Add your rolls in one layer or two depending on how much you made, then add a bit of bacon on top again, sprinkle of paprika, bay leaf and water enough to cover the rolls. Then you can leave it for a few hours in a very low heat. 

Here’s an up close photo of my yummy cabbage rolls:

posna sarma

A side dish of grilled paprika soaked in salt, olive oil and vinegar  overnight is a perfect combo to this authentic serbian sarma.

paprika salad