Wednesday, July 21, 2021


Lutenitsa is spicy roasted pepper relish from Bulgaria. The smoky flavors from the roasted red peppers, heat from hot peppers, balanced with tomatoes - this is the perfect dip/spread. This can be served as a dip with crackers or bread. Also can be used as a spread too. This is a simple relish which can be used in many ways. This is vegan too. In Romania, this is called Zacusca.

This relish is made with the fresh seasonal harvest veggies and read that this is made in every homemade in the country. The have a special equipment for roasting the peppers. The entire country must be smelling good with the aroma of roasted peppers. his sounds similar to the pickle season in our homes. When the mango season hits, every family makes spicy pickles with the fresh mangoes of the season. When I read about Lutenitsa, it exactly reminded of how we all chipped in during the season helping to make pickles or fritters. Great memories.

For roasting the peppers, I broiled them in the oven. Since I couldn't find Hungarian peppers, used 1/3 of a habanero pepper for the heat. I was planning to use Fresno peppers, I couldn't find in the market and the ones in my backyard were not ready. So, habanero it is. I followed Feastern Europe's recipe. The ratio of red peppers to tomatoes is 2:1 and this gives a wonderful flavor. The aroma of the peppers roasted was filling the entire home and I could imagine how the towns and cities would be filled with this wonderful aroma of roasted peppers. Simply divine!

Also this pickle sounds like our tomato chutney/thokku. We make chutneys with various veggies and Lutenitsa reminds those. Very similar. In fact, we love it as side for dosa, idli, chapathi, or stuffed parathas. The only difference between our thokku and Lutenitsa is that our version has lot of oil as oil also acts as a preserving agent. Feel free to add a couple of tbsp and that would elevate the flavors too. There are many versions and this is the basic version. The version with roasted eggplants is also a tasty one and is very similar to baingan bharta (minus garam masala) or eggplant chutney. Carrots can also be added and I need to try that version as it sounds delicious. Chakalaka, a Lesothan relish which has carrots and tomatoes was lip-smacking delicious. So is the French Piperade, made with tomatoes and bell peppers. These relishes made with fresh veggies of the season are packed with flavors that is out of the world.  

Gymnastics is a sport that involves physical exercise, strength, flexibility, and coordination. I love to watch this event in the Olympics. The gymnasts from Bulgaria and Romania would perform excellent and that's my favorite part of Olympics. So wanted to share a recipe from Bulgaria for our #SummerGamesWeek. I found that it is called Zacusca in Romania. Same recipe in both the countries, two in one.

Welcome to #SummerGamesWeek 2021 hosted by Amy from House of Nash Eats!  We are celebrating the start of the Tokyo Games with over 50 recipes representing more than 25 countries competing in the upcoming Summer Games! Come join me and my fellow Summer Games Week bloggers as we bring you recipes from appetizers to drinks to entrĂ©es and desserts!

Thursday #SummerGamesWeek Recipes

  • Vegetable Tempura representing Japan by House of Nash Eats
  • Spanish Flan representing Spain by Lemon Blossoms
  • Pan Fried Gyoza representing Japan by Take Two Tapas
  • Pimento Cheese Dog representing the USA by Our Good Life
  • Hungarian Chocolate Torte representing Hungary by That Recipe
  • Lutenitsa representing Bulgaria by Magical Ingredients
  • Vanilla Chai Tea Mix representing India by The Spiffy Cookie

  • Ingredients
    Yields about 3/4th cup

    Red bell pepper - 500g
    Tomatoes - 250 g
    Salt - 2/3 to 3/4 tsp
    Sugar - 1/4 tsp
    Habanero - 1/3 of one
    Oil - 1 tbsp
    Onion - 1/4 cup, sliced


    Wash and dry the peppers. Arrange them in a lined baking tray. Broil them on high. Flip the peppers as they get charred. It may take about 25-30 minutes for the red peppers to get completely done. Habanero would be done by 15 minutes, remove it to a bowl and cover. Once the peppers are done, remove from the oven, place in the bowl, and cover. Set aside for 30 minutes. This will help in peeling the peppers. 

    In the meantime, core the top and score at the bottom, and blanch the tomatoes in hot water. Once it is cool, peel and chop them. 

    Once the peppers are cool, peel them.

    Add the peppers, onion, and tomatoes and blend them to a smooth puree or keep it a little chunky as per preference. 

    Heat oil in a pan, add the blended puree, salt, and sugar. Cook for about 20-22 on a medium flame till all the water evaporates and the mixture is thick. When you score a line, the lutenitsa shouldn't  fill the gap and should remain as such. That's the right consistency. Switch off the flame, transfer to a bowl.

    Serve as a relish.


    1. I cannot wait to try this. I think it could be delicious on so many things.

    2. Such simple ingredients for this flavor packed relish. Can't wait to try this.

    3. This sounds like an amazing, bold condiment that would be good on everything! I'm grilling up some fish next week and planning to top it with lutenitsa now!