Hosted by Linda & Freddy

Photos: Kalin Milanov

Our hosts the event on 5 May 2011 were all refugees coming from different countries who’ve decided to stay in Bulgaria. Our main organizer was the Council of Refugee Women. The women shared their personal stories and memories and let us walk in their shoes. Then we all had fun – some helped the awesome Iraqi chef Freddy to prepare doner and others took part in the jewelry workshop. Original clothes from the refugees’ countries of origin were also available to try (and ask the photographer for a photo). When the food was ready we gathered to share it and discuss everything we’ve learned.


Syria, dish by Jennie Krasteva

250 g red lentils
1 l water
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp spearmint
3 eggs
1 red grapefruit
1 red onion
2-3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
Chili sauce

Put lentils, bay leaf and thyme in 1 l of water and boil until it turns into a thick puree. Boil the eggs in a separate pot. Peel the grapefruit, the onion, the garlic cloves and two of the eggs and finely chop. Mix them with the lentils. Before serving add the olive oil, chili sauce and salt. Garnish with the last boiled egg.

India, dish by Aloyo Ongiro

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cardamom pods
100 g raw cashew
1 cup basmati rice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 cups hot water
1 tsp saffron threads
1 bunch of fresh spinach, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat a saucepan on medium heat. Add the olive oil, cloves, cumin seeds and cardamom. Stir occasionally. Once the spice aroma begin to fill the kitchen, remove them from the oil and discard. Add the cashews and gently brown, stir them around to avoid burning. Add the rice and cinnamon, then add the turmeric and salt and stir. Add the hot water and the saffron threads and bring it to a simmer. Once simmering cover and turn down the heat. Cook for 12 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the rice on the hot plate for further 5 minutes. Remove from heat and use a fork to fluff up the rice and spread it onto a big plate. Once cooled, transfer the rice into a large bowl. Add the finely chopped spinach, coriander, red onion, lime juice and olive oil and mix well.

Syria, dish by Julie Tatuz

500 g yogurt
1 egg
½ l water
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
200 g minced beef
2 tbsp rice
Juice of ½ lemon

Put yogurt in pot, add the egg, 2 tbsp of warm water and mix until mixture is smooth. Add ½ l of water and mix well. Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally. Put olive oil in frying pan, add onion and fry until onion is golden. Add the minced beef and salt to taste. Fry until beef is ready. Add minced beef to the boiling yogurt. Wash rice until water runs clear and add to the yogurt. Cook until rice is ready. When the pot is removed from the heat add the lemon juice. Serve hot or cold.

Dish by Chef Frederick Beniamin

3 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp oil
6-8 cloves garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
3 white peppercorns
3 g cardamom
3 g cumin
3 g cloves
3 g nutmeg
3 g cinnamon
3 g red pepper
3 g chili pepper
3 g curry
½ tbsp salt
½ cup of water
600 g deboned chicken breasts and thighs

Put vinegar in a large bowl. Add yogurt, oil, crushed garlic, salt, the juice of the lemon and all spices. Mix well. Put meat in the bowl. Mix well so spices cover the meat. Add ½ cup of water to the meat. Mix well and leave to stand for at least 6 hours. Heat a frying pan, add chicken meat and cook thoroughly. Remove chicken from pan, put on tray and cut in strips. Put portion of meat in a plate, add garnish of fresh vegetables or potato chips. You can also make a sandwich using Arab pita bread or pocket pita bread, adding fresh vegetables of your choice, potato chips and garlic sauce.

Palestine, dish by Jennie Krasteva

5 cups kataifi shredded pastry
4 tbsp sunflower oil
200 g cottage cheese
2 tbsp rose water
3 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp pine nuts (roasted and chopped)

For the syrup:
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tbsp orange flavoured water

Grease a shallow baking pan. Separately place the shredded pastry in a large bowl and add the sunflower oil and mix thoroughly. Then take half of this mixture and arrange in the greased dish. Mix the cottage cheese, rose water and yogurt until you get a smooth mixture. Then pipe a layer of the cottage cheese mixture, sprinkle the chopped pine nuts and finish with the remaining shredded pastry mixture. Bake it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 180ºC or until it is golden brown. In the meantime prepare the sugar syrup by boiling the sugar, water and orange flavoured water together for about 10 minutes. Pour the sugar syrup on top and the dish is ready to serve.