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Albanian food?

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  • SPARK Nov 2, 2004 07:31 AM
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Hi Hounds,

I am having a pot luck party where everyone has to bring a dish from a counrty of their family's heritage. I have some Albanians up the family tree, but none close enough to me that are still alive that I can get any recipes from. Just to be different, I thought I would explore some dishes from this region. Most of my friends don't even know where Albania is, so I thought I would show off.

I have done some searching on the web, and it seems the meals consist of a lamb-mint meatball, and chicken in purple walnut sauce. There is just not much info out there.

Does any one have any insight into Albanian cuisine? The meatballs with a cucumber garlic yogurt sauce sound like a good appetizer so far, though. From what I have seen it sounds like a greek influence.

Thanks,
Spark

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  1. I was intrigued by your question and googled 'Albanian foodways'. I found this link: http://www.balkanweb.com/albania/curi...
    which you may have already found.

    1. try this link. i've had good luck with recipies from this site before.

      Link: http://www.gourmed.gr/recipes/albania...

      1. Thanks, looks like it will be the meatballs after all. Maybe I should just put Albania on my 'must travel' list and do some culinary investigating myself. Those same 10 recipes cannot be the only ones the government is allowing to be reproduced!!!

        1. The most famous albanian food is Bourek. It is a fillo pie stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach and cheese. There are many recipes on the web. If you know how to work with fillo dough this would definitely be a crowd pleaser.
          also see if you can find some raki albania's version of ouzo.
          Also i remember eating a wonderful stuffing as a child called Drupp(sp?) that no one seems to have a recipe for nowadays. It is a wonderful chestnut bread stuffing great for thanksgiving.
          Good luck and tell us what you do

          4 Replies
          1. re: MV

            I guess that is proof of my heritage - I am a whiz with fillo, love ouzo, and always put chestnuts in my stuffing. Could these traits be inherited and not learned....hum... ;-)

            I will update on Monday after the party and let you know what I decided on! Thanks again to all who cared to help a long lost albanian (mutt) !

            1. re: SPARK

              Yeah i have an affinity towards those things as well. I guess its a little of both. I dont really have too much of a connection with my albanian relatives but I appreciate the cuisine. Luckily in NY you can find some good albanian food.

              1. re: MV

                I have looked every wheree for traditional albanian recipes. My husband is albanian and living in uk he likes to eat the albnaian food. Ill keep searching til i find some recipes

                1. re: Abbie Gjoka

                  hi Abbie
                  I am albanian and after I saw your post I thought you might like to know that there is a book called HOW TO COOK ( SI TE GATUAJME) by an author called EVGJENI HARIZI, with lots of lovely recepies from our country. The only downside is that it is writen in albanian, but I am sure
                  your husband will help you.GOOD LUCK
                  Kind regards

          2. I'm Albanian and ther are a ton of great recepies both my mother and Nana make. My mom has an Albanian cookbook (believe it or not one does exhist) printed in Canada I think. I'll try to get the name and author posted. You really should investigate your Albanian heritage. We are a very proud people with a long and storied past.

            RasB

            5 Replies
            1. re: RasBardhylis

              Hi RasB,

              Welcome to Chowhound. If it is not a family secret, I hope you will share some of your recipes on the home cooking board.
              http://www.chowhound.com/boards/31

              I'm Polish and my mom had a few secret Polish recipes the envy of our family. Since I was the lone holder of those recipes, I posted a few of them on the home cooking board to share the deliciousness and keep the recipes from dying with me. Even if only one or two people copy them, they might become a tradition in someone else's family.

              Speaking of traditions. I'm curious. What are special Albanian foods served on holidays like Christmas, New Year's and Easter. Are there other special dishes for special Albanian holidays?

              The Italians, for example, make special donuts on March 19th, St. Joseph's day. Are there any similar Albanian food holidays?

              1. re: rworange

                FYI- Albania is mostly Muslim, so alot of the food would not be served on those holidays. My family is Albanian Orthodox, we usually had lamb, for all of the hollidays.

                1. re: MVNYC

                  True... my family is also Albanian Orthodox. Wasn't always that Albania was mostly Muslim though. Years ago it was mostly Orthodox until the Turks, in an effort to wipe out Orthodoxy, offered financial incentives (tax breaks etc.) to get Albanians to switch. Also at the same time making they made it very difficult (to say the least) for Orthodox Albanians.

                  To most Albanians religion wasn't an overriding facet of their lives, so being a pragmatic people they switched (on paper anyway, but many still practiced Orthodoxy in secrecy) to Islam. Over the years now Albania has, as you say, become mostly Muslim. But to us true Albanians... the religion of Albania is Albanianism!

                  RasB

                  ps: got a couple recipes I'll try to post on recipe forum today

                  1. re: RasBardhylis

                    Ras where are you from in Albania?
                    My family is from Korce, so I am wondering how different the dishes are in different parts of the country. The only restaurants i have eaten in here in the states were run by people from Kosova.
                    I always appreciate all recipes as well.

                    1. re: MVNYC

                      Hi MVNYC,
                      Been real busy lately, kids, work... you know. Going out to eat dinner tonight then working the overnight shift 9pm - 6 am so I gotta get a little rest right now, but I promise I will try to get a few recipes posted.

                      I had to respond to you though because my Nana is from Korce (Marigo Pando Stamo). Babagjysh (Spiro Nicholas Thema, my grandfather) was from Drenova. Small world huh?

                      I haven't had the chance to go over yet, but my cousins (Steven, Chris & Matthew Nicholas) have all been there. Steven lived there for 3 years, traveling throughout Albania, Macedonia & Kosova, just before the US went over to help during the whole Kosova crisis. He lived with a family in Macedonia mostly (which created some of it's own interesting events) and worked for the State Dept. (supposedly something to do with Environmental Affairs... our family still thinks he was some kind of spy or something). He even wrote a book (called Inside the Powder Keg) about his travels upon his return.

                      Anyway I gotta go right now, but I'll talk to you again. To the forum Admin... If this isn't the proper forum for this discussion please at least leave this post and MVNYC and I will find another way to communicate. Thanks (falemnderit!) Very much.

                      RasB

                      Anyway, I gotta go

            2. Please see RasBardhylis's followup post here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/372987

              4 Replies
              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                I have a cookbook with the logical name of "Albanian Cookbook" which was published some years ago by members of St. Mary's Albanian Orthodox Church in Worcester, Massachusetts. It has many interesting recipes, inclusding a few for baked fish which we make frequently.

                I bought the book at a fair in Worcester, a city with, evidently, a large numnber of people of Albanian descent. I've never seen it anywhere else. Good luck if you want to try to find it; maybe you could contact people associated with the Church.

                1. re: ekammin

                  I don't know about any specific food dishes but I do know that they were doing a lot of dining on traditional Serbian (former Yugoslavia) food in Kosovo before they over ran the Serbs. Just bring the cevapcici and don't forget the pivo!

                   
                  1. re: fruglescot

                    One recipe we love - take a lamb shank, dot it with butter, and bake 90 minutes. Remove it from the pan, add raw orzo and tomato sauce, replace the lamb, and bake another 30 minutes. Sprinkle with feta before serving. I don't know if the is more Greek or Albanian, but it is delicious.

                    1. re: ekammin

                      I had that exact item (no ouzo) at a special Christmas Eve dinner at a new restaurant (4 months) at 1468 Victoria Park (across from the Bay store at Eglinton Sq.) caled CHRISTINA'S Mediterranian Bistro
                      416 757-2200
                      It was listed on the menu as.... "ATHENIAN" Braised Lamb Shanks
                      With Rosemary, Oregano and Feta Cheeze in a Tomato Concasse
                      Minus the inclusion of the Raw Ouzo it is identical
                      Besides the Athenian reference the chef was named NICO and was the husband of the lady (our server) KATRINA.
                      You can ask the chef and/or sample the item on New Year's Day as they are offering it again on a special NY's dinner along with an appetizer and a dessert for $24.95, along with several (6) other mains.

                      We enjoyed our initial visit to this Mediterranean, culinary oasis out in Scarborough. Found the ambience charming,the slow jazz, Christmas carole backround soothing, the presentation exquisite and the food quite appealing. Christina catered our every need without the over aggressiveness I detest on special event evenings out.
                      All in all a winning experience.

                      NOTE: Not as pictured in the image below.

                       
              2. ok well u need to have some psheshim wich is like stuffing!!its amazing, n some baklava fo sho!!!