Saturday, April 11, 2009

Slovenian buckwheat žganci

I have been to Slovenia couple of times and I love that country. People are amazing, the country is beautiful and it has everything you could ask for: Alps,valleys, lakes, rivers and sea.

When it comes to the cuisine, it is delicious, diverse and very Slovenian. The diversity comes with the influence from Austria, Italy and the Balkans and makes Slovenian cuisine quite unique.

The buckwheat is typical for the region, as well as it is for Italian and Austrian regions in the neighbourhood. I got interested in this dish because it is made with buckwheat flour only, without addition of any other flour, eggs, milk. In fact buckwheat flour is the only ingredient.

And the way this dish is prepared is the most insane way of cooking. Basically the dish is made by pouring buckwheat flour in salted boiling water. Sounds simple but it is not as it is a bit tricky to get the flour to form small lumps. But after couple of failures I finally got it right.

This dish is also made in Austria where is called Heidensterz, but it is prepared a bit differently. The flour is first roasted in a pan and then water is slowly added. I have not tried to make it this way but it sounds a bit more simple than the Slovenian version.

Traditionally žganci are served with sauerkraut, sausages or milk, here I added them to olive oil, garlic, parsley and red chili (aglio, olio and peperoncino). I believe žganci can be combined with any kind of sauce, so they will replace my usual wheat-pasta in many dishes.

Ajdovi žganci
serves 2
4 dl buckwheat flour

1,2 l water
1 tsp salt

aglio, olio e peperoncino
4 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves
2 red serrano chillies
4 tbsp parsley
some parmesan
black pepper

Boil the water in a saucepan, add salt and take off the heat. Add the flour, all at once. Shake the saucepan until all flour is covered with water. A big lump will form.

No matter how much tempted you feel to grab a spoon and blend everything, do not do it, as everything could turn into a smooth looking buckwheat-polenta. Part of the flour that does mixes completely with the water will sink to the bottom of the saucepan and get pretty much stuck to it. I have not find a way to avoid this.

Make a whole in the middle of the lump, it will brake in smaller lumps, shake again the saucepan until all flour is covered with water.
Put the saucepan back on the medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes. The liquid will become a bit thicker and lumps will soak some of the water.

Drain as much liquid as you can, and save it in a bowl. With help of a spoon cut through the lumps until you get smaller lumps.
If the mixture is to much dry add some of the drained liquid. Cover with a lid and let stand on a turned off cooker for about 15 minutes.

For the sauce chop finely garlic, chili and parsley. Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic and chili and cook until garlic is slightly golden. Add parsley and žganci, with a help of two spoons keep on ¨cutting¨ through žganci so that the lumps do not stick to each other. Cook for about 10 minutes on low heat. Serve with parmesan and black pepper.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I will give you a tip. Put flour in a big pot in the middle so u kinda have a pyramide. Then add boiling watter, salt and a bit of oil. Leave it for 10 min lightly boiling. after that take a wooden spoon and hold it the wrong way. The neck of the spoon goes in the middle of lump that formed and make a hole approx. 2-3cm big, so the watter gets in the middle (so the middle of lump gets cooked). u put a lid on a pot and leave it lightly boiling for approx. 20 min. then drain the watter and after that u stir it so all the flour is connected with watter. Nothing should get stuck on the bottom of the pan. then u make little lumps with a spoon and a fork into another serving bowl.

This is how my mum tought me and its Dolenjska region way of making zganci. if u heat the flour first its zganci that are usually made in Koroska region. They can be also made, from corn, wheat, buckwheat, actually any kind of flour.

Enjoy your meal.
Just some slovenian girl

Mila said...

Thank you so much for your tip! Will definitely test Dolenjska-way of making zganci, thanks a million!