Albanian Recipe Questions
I get many enquiries through email and social media asking Albanian recipe questions and looking for help and advice on Albanian food. Here are a select few that I feel can offer many others useful information. If you’ve got a question drop me a line and I will be happy to help.
Q1. A Question about an Albanian recipe.
A good friend of mine who is 91, her mother was born in Albania in the Treske, Korce region in South Albania in early 1890’s. She Immigrated to US early 1900’s and used to make a type of bread called something like ‘Brushtul’. With her passing, so did her recipe. My friend does not remember. I know it is a long shot, but I figured I would ask! I have heard that not many Albanians outside of the Treske Korce region know what this ‘brushtul’ is.
A. I actually think I do know what it is! Lakror is what albanians call pies. We have spinach, meat, pumpkin and cheese ones. Sometimes they are called Pite too. Byrek is another form. Lakror comes from Korce – that’s the origin in Albania of where the recipes started. Brushtul Lakror is a cheese version but with the use of cottage cheese and feta mixed.
Now, there are also two types of pie pastries, there is filo pastry and batter. My family comes from the north so we call batter pies lakror and filo pies pite. Not sure about the south.
IF, I am right which I hope so… I think, I may even have the recipe for this on my website – but I used ‘the filling’ and made parcels instead of a pie. Can I recommend that you follow my steps below and you may be able to piece together the recipe for your friend.
Okay firstly, if you show the pictures on the links below to your friend you may be able to identify which is the right pie (filo or batter).
Filo pastry and recipe
Batter pastry and recipe
Depending on which one it is, the filling to try is in my Cheese Byrek recipe
I am really excited about this and I really do hope I am right and your friend identifies it. If it turns out to be the filo pastry one, buy some ready rolled to use for the recipe if you make it, then if it is the right recipe you could then try traditional homemade filo pastry after.
Q2. A dessert made with fruit – missing ingredient.
I am not Albanian, but I have an Albanian friend who was trying to tell me about some dessert made with the fruit called QUINCE and something natural and white that comes from the earth? He did not know the word in English and I still do not know what he was talking about. It is something WHITE used in construction and food. Do you know what it is? He said they mix it with Quince.
A. Quince is called FTU in Albanian and they mainly use it to make jellies, jams and desserts. I have tried a marmalade of this before. The white substance is called GELQERE and it is a type of material that is used in construction. But, Gelqere is also the word used for lime and lime is what is used in recipes to make marmalade’s in Albania.
I think that your friend is referring to the lime which makes perfect sense as it is common to be mixed with the Quince before it is editable (eaten raw can sometimes be too sour or have bad tastes).
If your friend is using the raw white powder then it’s called Calcuim hydroxid but you don’t need it in its natural form. In Albanian they may use it as they may not be able to get the products we can. You can learn a lot from reading this article and you can see how it is used in cooking too as it explains. Mainly used to give a better taste in foods that are hard to digest.
You can get lime powder from online or in some specialised supermarkets too, but also you can use normal limes (although I don’t know how many).
Q3. Recipe needed for Pita me Kungull
Can you please provide me a recipe for Pita me Kungull or advise on best ingredients to use?
A. Your timing is actually perfect, I have a recipe ready to go on my website as we made it a lot through the summer. Firstly a little information for you – we use different names for different types of pie plus different places in Albania use different words too. Some people make the recipe with filo pastry which makes it Pite me Kungall and others use a form of batter (eggs and flour) to make lakror me kungull. Then, as the pumpkin family is quite large you can use pumpkin, squash or types of courgettes.
Have a read of my Albanian Pie blog as it tells you about the differences. Here in the UK we use courgettes with a couple of spoons of sugar for extra sweetness. I also make the batter version.
If it is the pite (filo pastry) version you want then I recommend using 6 grated courgettes, 2 eggs, 3 tbsp sugar and mixing them all together in a mixing bowl. Then you need to follow the instructions for my Albanian Spinach Pite recipe but using your courgette filling instead of the spinach. As far as I know you also do not add water after cooked.
Q4. Supper Club – Theme: Albanian Food
Hello! I can’t help myself but I am going to an “event” where everyone is sharing a meal. The topic is: Albanian food! I want to bring some nice “mezze”. Would you help me out here and tell me how a good starter platter for you look like! Love your food!
A. It’s a tricky one as depends on what type of people and how many too. If you want to go traditional, old village based then we have on one plate per person: a boiled egg, homemade chips, qofte (two that are coated in egg before frying and two just fried plain), some salami and a slice of ‘white cheese’ – feta cheese. That may be difficult for an event plus there is not much there as the main food comes ontop of the mezze which is meats and rices. I have a article on Albanian Meze you can read that may help.
What you could do is a platter of pies, Spinach Pite, Leek Lakror and Courgette Lakror. These can then be cut into slices and are three very traditional Albanian foods. Spinach pite is often served along side meze too.With meze the olives, salad and bread are always served on the table to share instead of the individual plates.
I’ve had so many dinners at traditional old villagers houses and always have the same thing. Different villages will serve different meats too. Mezze is not so much a starter any more – its more of a plate of food that you have in
front of you at all times while more (and more and more) food is served. If you want to send me more details, or help you decide just let me know, I am always happy to help.
Reply. Oh wow, thank you for coming back to me with such kind words. We have a “club” here in my German city. The idea is that everyone bring something that serves around 4 people and every month we have a different country we are focussing on. It’s my first time tomorrow and the theme is Albanian food. I am a little nervous to be honest. I tought about making some meatballs. What you do you think? Maybe with minced lamb and stuffed with feta? Someone else is making the lakror with leek and with courgette, so this is taken. It would be great if I could make 4 “small” things! What do you think! And thanks again for you support! I also thought about some
stuffed aubergine? Is it even something common? If so, how would you stuff them?
Further A. We call these clubs ‘supper clubs’ or ‘dinner clubs’ and have become a big thing in the UK – nice to hear you’ve joined one where you are. The problem with stuffed aubergines is that you eat them fresh or to eat cold you normally scoop out the filling as use as a side. I’ve had them cold and reheated and they get a bit soggy. Stuffed meatballs are good, lamb mince is more traditional too. Why don’t you do stuffed meatballs (maybe 2 per person) with a red pepper salad (you cook this and eat hot or cold). Then also do some cucumber yogurt and some rice?
You can then serve on one plate 2 meatballs, a couple of spoons of rice, couple of spoons of yogurt and couple of spoons of red pepper – basically making meatballs and rice with side salad?
All recipes are on my site except the rice, if you do want to make rice I can tell you how we make it back home. Another option would be to do stuffed peppers or a meatbake. Meatbake is one dish and you all dive in. We had stuffed peppers using orange peppers last night which made it sweeter which is really nice!