Located north of Turkey and south of the Black Sea, this mountainous coastal republic bears an interesting reputation for entertaining. Their diet is low sugar, low salt, low calorie, low fat, high vitamin and high antioxidant. In general they are considered heart-healthy people, with the oldest on record being 114. Wow!
Could longevity be atributed to their flavor secret Ajika? It’s also spelled adzhika and is used throughout the region.
Here’s how to make your own — refrigerate and use as needed, or prepare a fresh batch of paste to use as a barbecue rub.
2 cloves garlic, crushed with mortar and pestle
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons hot Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground walnuts (optional)
water to moisten
1. Combine all spices to make a thick paste.
2. Add one teaspoon of water at a time until desired consistency is reached.
So how can you use ajika at home?
Rub paste on plump chicken breasts, pork tenderloin or salmon filets and allow flavors to penetrate for at least one hour. Bake or grill on medium high heat. Allow meat to rest before slicing, then serve over polenta with grilled red, yellow and orange peppers seasoned with olive oil, salt and cracked pepper.