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This absolutely delicious Eastern European specialty is also known as Serbian red pepper ketchup, but its actual, chunky consistency is more like a relish or a chutney. It can be made as hot as you like: just add more chilies. It is traditionally served like a ketchup -- in small amounts alongside meats, cheeses, raw vegetables, and fish. Makes 1 1/2 cups

SKU 1336-Recipe


  • 2 red bell peppers (or 1 red and 1 orange)
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1/2 pound), pricked with a fork 4 times
  • 3 hot chilies, or more to taste, seeded and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • coarse salt and ground cayenne pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast the bell peppers and eggplant on a baking sheet in the oven for 1 hour, or until soft. Transfer the vegetables to a plate to cool, and save any juices that accumulate. Remove the stems, skins, and seeds from the bell peppers, and mince the flesh. Remove the stem and skin from the eggplant, and mince the flesh.
  2. Place the bell peppers and eggplant in a medium skillet, add the chilies, garlic, oil, vinegar, coarse salt, and cayenne pepper, adding any reserved juices, and cook the mixture over very low heat, stirring, for 30 minutes, or until very thick, like a chutney. Let the ajvar cool and store covered tightly in the refrigerator.