Macedonia – Although Italy is presented as the number one country regarding the numerous types and ways of pasta preparation (there’s certainly a reason for this), the Balkan countries could surprise you too. In particular, I am talking about Macedonia. Already many of you know that apart from nature, Macedonia lures tourists with its versatile and unique food. One of the simpler, but dangerously delicious traditional food are jufki (Macedonian: јуфки).
However, though simple in appearance and although made with few ingredients, this homemade pasta takes time and patience.
The making of jufki started a long time ago; in the past, a group of women – neighbors, friends or relatives would gather and start to prepare this traditional pasta. All the work is done manually – with a rolling pin and knife. The process of making jufki usually occurs in the summer, or when the weather is hot and they’re mostly consumed in winter. The process for their preparation has phases and procedures that must be followed strictly and with attention.
First comes the mixture with the following ingredients: flour, salt, milk, eggs and oil. The amount depends on how many peels (flat and thin discs of dough that are used for the further preparation of jufki) are needed (a family makes an average of 30-60 peels which are then cut into strips or broken into lengthened pieces). After the mix is finished, the dough is divided into smaller pieces (it is shaped into smaller balls), it means that you can start with the shaping of the flat discs. Once finished, each dough sheet is left exposed to the sun to dry. The pieces are covered with a thin sheet to protect them from insects. Some housewives prefer to dry the pasta on a clean clothes dryer, but underneath, they put clean white sheets because the dough pieces slip and fall to the ground. While still wet and soft, the flat discs can be cut into strips with a knife, and thus dried. Another way is to leave them in the sun until dry and then break them into pieces. In the end, dried pasta strips are put in a canvas bag and stored in a dry place. Today, jufki are being made with the help of machines (the machine has settings for different bandwidths). However, the homemade jufki are known as tastier.
Regarding the preparation of dried jufki, there are many variations of the recipe but one is the basic. Jufki are cooked and eaten with cheese. As a supplement to this, you can add red pepper powder (often chili-flavored) or with turshija (Macedonian: туршија): pickle vegetables in a jar – carrots, green tomato, cauliflower, peppers).
Jufki can also be prepared in a pan, in the oven. A delicious and simple recipe with this kind of jufki is with mushrooms and minced meaty (or soy, as a vegetarian option). Just line up the jufki in a pan with oil on the bottom, add the cooked ground meat (or soy) and bake 40 minutes at 200 ° C.