Albanians are also angry at me

I have managed to offend many nationalities through my international food project. Some day I’ll post all the comments from Appalachians I’ve gotten for comparing Appalachia to the third world – but a more recent comment was from an Albanian who was sure I’d never been to Albania (true) and had never eaten Albanian food (true as well). She says that the only authentic Albanian food comes from women who have kept the traditions for generations, which I can believe. She’s been very gratious to send me some recipes, which I’m posting here. I may cook them someday.


Tave Dheu me Patligjana
This is a traditional dish made with baby aubergines, which are cut in halves and fried in oil after their mid sections are removed in order to fill them up. Then they are fried with onions, yellow peppers, garlic and tomatoes. When the mixture is ready you can add salt and spices depending on your preferences and then you can add the filling to the previously fried aubergines, which then are placed into the oven dish. If you have more mixture left you can add that on the side of the aubergines. When you have done all that you can put in the oven for 30 minutes to bake. This dish can be served with rice with meat on the side which I will tell you now.
Pilaf me mish vici.
This is cooked lamb with biled water and salt. When the lamb is cooked you use the lamb stock to cook the rice. If you want you can roast the lamb afterwards with spices and serve this with the above.

17 Comments

Filed under Feedback, Recipes

17 Responses to Albanians are also angry at me

  1. anila

    First i will like to thank you for trying to cook the food and for posting in the internet your impresions.
    I did not cook much in Albania my mother use to do all the cooking but today my child, a all american girll, spend summers in Albania, request that i do somme albanian as well. How about lentel soop with rosted garlic and basamic vinegar, very famos dish in south east albania korca region and do not forget that Berati had some famose baking dishes even during the comunizm you will prepare the food and sended to the bakery to be baked in a wooden ovens, very primitive but did some good baking. My mother use to do lots of vegetabels but one thing is interesting the squashshe use to make it for the family with salt baked betwen
    the fillo dough and for herself with sugar..
    I agree with you that using the oil but I remember that the food was fresh and vegetables part of every meal. if was not sallat with tomatos will be with olive and lemons, depended on the season. Albania is a very rich country as far as producing fruts and vegetables…is Madeterian and all the trees and flowers and vegetables that grow in greece or Italy grow there as well….my antsisters had to eat at some point they exeprenced with the food i am sure as my sister is exerencing today with are fast microwave foods.
    As you all ready know the recipie you cooked is not going to be taste the same as one in Triana…you have to have the ingridents from that country to taste the distiguish flavor …are so many thing i try to cook…. but the tast is not the same…maby i miss the company, my family which made evry meal a wonderfull dinner.
    Thanks again for writing,
    Anila

  2. Anonymous

    I’m disturbed that you did not do more research before proclaiming you know any Albanian recipes. The only traditional food of Albanians is whatever they variated over the years from traditional Mediterranian food. Anila is correct though in saying that no matter what you do the taste of the food is not the same. There are many Balkan markets where I live that import just about anything you want from Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, but nothing tastes the same. The lamb here is not raised with the tender care of a family pet and fed only the best things to insure good meat for the family in the winter. The cow is raised on prime property grass, grain and is taken care of like a family member to insure the milk is the freshest that it can be. Not on hormones to get it to market as soon as possible like in the civilized countries of the U.S., Europe and Australia. The cheese is made from these pampered cows milk and only the best of the batch is used to feed their families. You can never repeat the tastes of the Mediterranean. You must smell, live, taste them there cooked with care from a recipe passed down hundreds of generations. Do yourself a favor and visit some of the small villages in Albania and Montenegro and befriend the locals so that you may get a taste of some of the non-industrialized product of good food and good cooking. Nothing compares and then and only then will you see that Albanian Food is an art of love, hard work and pride that can not be replicated in the cold Western World that we live in. Kristina U.S.A.

    • Mil

      So true!! I have been three times to Albania and nothing compares here in the US. The food is so fresh. It doesn’t need as much seasoning as here to get flavor.

  3. Jonida

    No one should be offended nor blame anyone for not doing any research on Albanian food. I am an Albanian woman and I can’t really think of a particular dish that is AUTHENTIC Albanian. Maybe Pace, which mostly men eat for breakfast and it is rarely served. As mentioned on the introduction Albania has been under the domination of Turks and Greeks and Roman. Our cuisine is a reflection of all those countries and that is nothing wrong with that. Our cuisine consists of stews with a lot of oil (yndur) which clogs up your blood vessels for years We use a lot of vegetables and meat. Albania was under the communist regime for 45 years and people did not have exactly everything they needed and food is also part of that. People had to wait in line for food and other necessities. Let’s be real and tell the real story and not sugar coat anything. I am proud of my country and the people who lived and continue to live there. They made it through some tough times and we shouldn’t be ashamed of that. So I don’t know if there is something authentic Albanian food, we have a melting pot of recipes that is a sign of our history and who we are.

  4. gloria

    i am albanian/italian-my grandmother and mother used to make a bread that was made with bacon fat,paparika,and oragano-of course the dough was made from scratch-does any one know of this bread and what it is called-my mom used to say it was just an albanian bread-mom is long gone and unfortunately i didn’t want to learn how to make it-what a fool i was-can anyone help me?

  5. ALBERTA

    i dont know who you are and i dont care to know but you do not know anything about the albanian culture or food for that matter and in that case i thnk you need to stop critisizeing the albanians and their food and find something other to talk bad about like your own culture,foood,ect.ect.ect.

  6. Eva

    Dear Margarita,
    I was surfing your website in Albanian food, and I have to say I was offended that you would talk like that about a country or culture that you have never experienced or lived on. I think out of respect your comments could have been a little nice, gentler. If you were so not interested in the country why bother write about it or even try those recipes. Yes, it is true that Albanian food was influenced by its occupier, just like American food today which is really nothing but junk food (hot dogs and Burgers with fries) and even that came from German refugees. As far as the food goes I came in America at 17 years old, and live here for 13 years now. The only time I really enjoy eating great food it when I travel in vacation outside of America (whether it is Europe or Asia). I do not wan to get all political but if you know anything about history and had you done some research you would realize that Albania was a gate that protected all the other countries of the Balkan Peninsula, from being occupied. So although small and third world, we played a role in our neighbor countries’ destiny through our rough history. So my advice is stick to cocking and trying the recipes and stop insulting a country that has contributed some great leaders to the world. If interested you can research this. And by the way your “qofte” recipe has a mistake. Albanians make qofte with parsley not mint, and even Egyptians do the same. You also may want to know that we serve our qofte with a brown broth sauce. Just remember that no matter what Albanian food taste like and how simple it looks it tastes a lot batter then the tasteless things we buy and eat from our famous America supermarket. Oh, but I forgot, American only care about Quantity (the larger, the bigger) somewhere during history America lost the aspect of Fine Quality , freshness and taste. And I am not being bitter, I, too, do love America it was the land of opportunity for me. But I will never forget what I am and where I came from.

  7. Semi

    Margarita:
    If at this point you have become curious to research some more the history of Albania, this website will be very helpfull.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albania#Pelasgians.
    Good luck.
    Semi

  8. Dear Marga:
    I am not sure why the first e-mail did not post.
    But here is a web site, that give you some information on the history of Albania.
    Good Luck.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albania#Pelasgians

  9. Tony

    As an American of Arbereshe descent, I understand that many Americans (and others) don’t know very much about Albanians and Albania and what they do know is often negative stereotypes. The only way to change this is if the Albanians stop being so defensive and educate people about her history, people, customs, langauge and food. So stop being offended and show people who you really are. Marga has done a good thing with this blogsite, keep up the good work. Also, one poster may have been talking about the bread, or if you prefer, buka, called kuljac, but this is a holiday bread…anise seeds are in the recipe. I may have it in my family cookbook. Most of the recipes have faded over the years and are indecipherable. Have a great day.

  10. KRS

    I recomend “flia”…yum! It’s made out of dough and is made in an open flame (outdoors).

  11. Nina Barrett

    I think that you should just stop all togather with the whole albanian thing it is getting old

  12. Ms. Personality

    Stop trying to help the people if they dont want your help. Maybe to them they think that they’re nothing but a stupid project to you. Did you ever think of that, i understand its a good cause but they might not see it that way

  13. Anonymous

    albania havent got too many traditional dishes.but if you eat in albania at 12 o’clock you will not feel hungry after two hours like you do in america and the west countries.because its fresh and full of vitiams and its straight from the garden to the pan and not kept in the giant fridges for weeks.
    good try

  14. Anonymous

    As has become our norm we puff up to talk about our greatness, the wonder that is our homelend (yeah so why did everyone leave who could?) and other blablabla.
    How about being gracious AND GIVE some recipes!!!.
    Trust me all America is NOT junk food and mass produced food either. Try your local farmers’ market -you’ll be amazed!
    Maybe you can do more buying there, less wholesale meat purchases and your sister in law, you know the Kosava virgin your brother never met before he married her can get out of the kitchen on the computer and POST some recipes 😉

  15. Elisa

    There seems to be a lot of tension here! I praise anyone who attempts to learn aspects of another culture and can say from my experience that the traditional Albanian recipes tend to vary somewhat from town to town. We should be encouraging interest in these rare dishes and not berating those that attempt to reproduce them and introduce them to the wider community. Good luck with your continuing cooking and helpful website. Here is a recipe from Elbasan, Albania (measures are approximate as pounds, ounces, kilos are not really the usual form of measurement!) Go for the taste you prefer by adjusting as necessary.
    PASTIQE
    Ingredients:
    1 litre milk
    1tbsp salt, pinch pepper
    3 eggs
    500g feta cheese
    3 tbsp olive oil
    2 packs of spaghetti
    tbsp cornflour (or plain flour if you have none)parsley to garnish
    Method:
    Preheat oven to gas mark 5 (medium heat). Pre grease large baking tray (at least 2.5cm or 1 in deep) with olive oil and place in oven to warm.
    Cook pasta in large pot 3/4 full with boiling water, generous tbsp of salt (or two!) and the olive oil. Cook until “al dente” in texture (not sloppy) – about 8 mins usually, but this varies.
    In the meantime, hand whisk 1 litre of milk with 3 eggs, a heaped tbsp of cornflour, tbsp salt and pinch of pepper until thickens ever so slightly in consistency: roughly 2 min.
    Drain spaghetti and spread evenly in pre-greased large grill pan size baking tray (at least 1 inch or 2.5cm depth). Pour over the milk mixture and coarsely crumble the feta cheese across the mixture (large chunks preferable to small crumbs for taste). Press down into the spaghetti with the back of a tablespoon and place in the oven for at least half an hour. Check every ten minutes thereafter until preferred consistency is achieved. Some people like a crispy pastiqe, whilst others prefer a softer texture. Generally the pastiqe is cooked when the edges are crispy and the top of the dish is golden brown. The middle should be firm, but easy to slice, whilst maintaining its shape. (It’s not ready if the spaghetti separates and cheese falls to the plate) you should be able to cut into well-defined squares to serve. Leave to cool for ten minutes before slicing.
    Cut into large rectangular or square shapes and garnish with parsley or serve with salad of your choice. You could add crispy bacon pieces to the mixture for extra flavour if you are a meat lover.
    Easy, cheap and very munchable!

  16. Anjeza

    Please people give her some credit for trying. Be respectful and help her understand our culture instead of criticizing. Act like civilized and educated people. Stop it with the negativity and disrespect. No wonder the world thinks so little of Albanians and we should really try to change that.
    Anyway I’d like to post a spinach and bean soup that my mom makes all the time.
    Fasule and/or Vegetarian Spinach and Bean Soup
    In a pot add 1Tb of olive oil and 1 medium size onion chopped very fine and sweat for a few minutes. Next add 1 can of chopped tomatoes ( In Albania we use fresh chopped ripe tomatoes from the garden.Let cook until boil. Add 2 cans of white beans and about 4 cups of water (or you can use 2cups dry white beans and boil until they get soft). Once the soup has come to a boil add salt.The soup can be eaten at this point and in Albania is called Fasule.
    In our house we would eat fasule the first day and the second day my mom would add a bunch of spinach, baby dill and the juice of a lemon to leftovers To make the spinach soup. This will taste like a whole different soup and its really healthy.
    Be the best you can be!
    Anjeza

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