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February 15, 2011

Got Adjika?

Valentine's day is over. Chocolate is eaten, obligations are paid. Now back to normal life :)

Today, I'm sharing this simple salad I came up with by combining small red beans, onions and Adjika. Adjika is a national condiment of Abkhazia, a beautiful, now independent country stretched on the Northeast coast of Black Sea.

Many people know of Adjika as a tomato-pepper-herb paste. It could be hot, medium or mild. Actually, real adjika does not require many ingredients, but red chili peppers, herbs- cilantro, parsley, dill (if you find taragon it would give it a nice flavor, but my supermarket didn't have it)- and garlic. Now that it's winter and fresh red chili is not available in this neck of the wood, I used soaked dried chili. I usually dry them myself, but they could be found in Spanish/Mexican section of your supermarket. You can adjust the heat by removing or keeping seeds in the pepper.

Adjika goes good with almost everything, especially meat dishes. But since many of you probably had a heavy feast on Valentine's, I decided to make something light and healthy--small red beans salad.

Red Beans and Onion salad with homemade Adjika

For Adjika:
a handful (about a cup) of dried red chili peppers, soaked in boiling water for at least 1 hour
a handful (about a cup) of mixed fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, dill
3-4 gloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3 TB spoons red wine vinegar
pink of sea salt

For the salad:
8 oz small read beans (or kidney beans), cooked
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
salt to taste

  1. Cook beans: if you can soak them overnight in quadruple amount of water, if you forgot to do that, bring beans and water to boil, take off the heat, cover and let soak for at least 2 hours. After soaking, drain and rinse again.
  2. Cook beans in the same amount of water (at least 1 to 4): bring to boil, add a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat for 1/2 an hour. Don't overcook the beans! In case you don't feel like cooking beans, go ahead, use canned ones, but don't forget to rinse them well. Set aside.
  3. Slice onions, put aside.
  4. To make Adjika, combine all the ingredients in a a food processor or blender, blend until all combined. Transfer Adjika in a glass jar and close with lid. You can keep it in a fridge for couple of month.
  5. Combine cooked beans and onions and dress the salad with 1/2 of the Adjika. If it's not too hot for your taste, add more. Toss and serve over some salad greens if desired or as a side dish.
It might not be your average aphrodisiac but this simple dish will surely give your taste buds a sensual feast!


  1. Wow, thanks for sharing.
    My auntie studied in the former Soviet Union when she was young and I remember her bringing Adjika Paste home. I love it, especially with nice bread and cheese.
    I've been trying to find the recipe on the net for quite some time now, but I could only find the chutney version with tons of tomatoes in it. I remember adjika being quite a dry spicy paste though and your recipe sounds like the real deal. Will be making it soon.
    Thanks again

  2. you're welcome, MsBlueberry! Yes, the real adjika is a rather dry paste made of hot peppers. There are many variations of it using tomatoes and even apples…