Sunday, September 7, 2014

Albania - Burek (with meat), Courgettes with Tomato, Albanian Salad - A to Z Project

After a four year hiatus after just one entry, the A to Z Project is finally off the backburner.

This "stop" is Albania.

My exposure to Albanian food information is extremely limited.  Currently the only cookbook I own with Albanian recipes in it is The Balkan Cookbook, by Jugoslovenska Knjiga, which I have owned for years but had not cooked from until this weekend.  I had been waiting to get back to my project before delving in.

I had a lot of trouble deciding which recipes to make.  Many of the Albanian dishes sounded tempting and I will definitely be going back to make others as time permits. 

After much internal debate, I decided on making Burek with meat because I was curious to see how it would differ from the Mince and Onion Pie I make from a recipe book from New Zealand (given to me by my New Zealander mother-in-law). 

For the Burek I used a fillo dough packaged as "Bourek Dough" from a local Mediterranean/"international" market here in L.A.  Although this dough was obviously different than the flaky pastry dough I make for the NZ pie, the dough was not what I found most different.  The Burek was put together in layers of fillo dough, cut into squares and then a mixture of yoghurt, eggs and mineral water was poured over the top and left to sit for 15 minutes before baking. I admit, I was kind of freaking out when I poured that over the top.  But it all worked out perfectly.  The top picture shows the Burek which my husband had with a yogurt-dill-garlic sauce.  [I got the recipe for it here, but didn't add the oil.]

Next up was the Courgettes with Tomato, which was simmered thickly sliced summer squash, tomato, chopped garlic, salt and pepper with fresh parsley. 

Lastly, I opted for the Albanian Salad.  Partially because it had Albanian in the title, but more importantly because I wanted to see how it compared to many other kinds of potato salads I have had.  Although I doubt it is considered a "potato salad" in Albania, it does have boiled potatoes in it and sounded similar enough to be a type of potato salad, at least to me.  

I thought this salad was delicious but I am assuming it will be even better tomorrow, once all the flavors really have time to meld together.

Because the salad was to be mixed with yogurt, I opted to take a shot of the chopped up ingredients in case they were masked too much by the yogurt.
 [pictured ingredients: fresh dill and parsley, potato, 
red and green bell pepper, onion, raisins and tomato.] 
Over the weekend, I have spent some time listening to some Albanian music, mostly with some help from the "Dude,where’s my Gomar?" blog.   

Here are some of the videos I found on youtube.
Elvana Gjata - Puthe
Miriam Cani - Labirint (Official Video HD)
Silva Gunbardhi ft. Mandi ft. Dafi - Te ka lali shpirt

Noizy – Noku VogĂ«l

SabinaDana ft. Dafi Derti - E kam pas

Albania Nature's Beauty& Traditional Music [HD]
Best of Albanian Music, Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight and Nine.

Tonight or tomorrow night, I'll be watching Albania, La Storia.  From what I recall of the description, it is a history of Albania from 1890 to 1990(?). 


  1. Sounds delicious, Cheryl. What kind of burek with meat did you use?

    Meat Burek Ridgewood

    1. Thank you, Christopher. It was!

      I used ground sirloin which is the kind I normally use when making the NZ meat pies I wanted to compare this to.

      I can see from your links that you likely know a lot about meats(?). Is there a type you would suggest I try next time when re-making this?