Home made Slovenian Food, delicious, diverse, interesting, healthy.

Monday, 14 September 2015


Ajdovi žganci is a traditional Slovenian dish made of buckwheat flour and water. More than a century ago, žganci was considered to be basic food for most of the people and very important for their survival. Žganci was made for breakfast to provide necessary energy for farmers' hard work during the day. For many people žganci was a substitute for bread. The dish was served not only as a main dish for breakfast and dinner, but also as a side dish with some other traditional dishes such as mushroom soup and different stews for lunch. 

Buckwheat-soba žganci with pork cracklings.

As we mentioned before, Slovenia is a country with a lot of variety. It has many different geographical regions and also many dialects in its language. It also has many local dishes. One dish can be prepared in many different ways throughout Slovenia. That is certainly true for žganci. 

The main ingredient is flour - buckwheat, corn, barley or wheat flour. One type of flour or a mixture of flours can be used, such as corn flour with wheat flour, buckwheat flour with wheat flour etc. Sometimes potatoes and semolina are added to žganci
The way of cooking žganci can be different too. Flour can be cooked in boiling water or it can be roasted in a pan adding boiling water later.

Here is the recipe for buckwheat žganci 


500 g buckwheat flour 
1000 ml boiling water
Salt to taste 
1 tbsp pork fat 
Pork cracklings for garnish

This recipe feeds 4 to 6 people. 

Cooking method:

Put water in a high and narrow pot. Add salt and start cooking. When water starts to boil, add all the flour at once so that you get a big lump of flour. Cook it for 10 minutes on high temperature, carefully that the mixture will not spill over the edge of the pot.  After 10 minutes carefully turn the lump around and with a wooden spoon make a small hole - 2 to 3 cm in the middle of the flour lump, so that the boiling water would also spill through the hole and the flour will be evenly cooked. Cook for another 20 minutes. 

Big lump of flour with the hole in the middle.
When cooked, carefully drain the water from the pot and keep aside. Mix or better knead the flour with big wooden spoon to make žganci. You can add previously drained water if needed, spoon by spoon. Žganci should not be too wet or too soft. Add 1 tbsp of melted fat to mix the flour better.

Knead the flour with big wooden spoon.
It is ready when everything is well mixed and you do not see any dry flour left in the mixture. With a fork crush bigger lumps to make smaller bites and layer them into a big serving bowl. 

Crush bigger lumps to make smaller bites.
For garnish use pork cracklings as you can see on the photo. You can also make different kinds of garnishes, such as roasted onions as in Prlekija, the hilly region in Northeastern Slovenia. You can serve žganci just with milk or white barley coffee or yogurt for breakfast. 

In Koroška - Carinthia region in Northern part of Slovenia, žganci is prepared in a different way. Flour is roasted in a dry pan on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Flour must not turn brown. Then salty boiling water is slowly added  with continuously stirring the mixture until all the flour is well mixed with water. Again, do not add too much water at once so that the right consistency and texture is achieved.

Buckwheat žganci for breakfast. 
Today žganci is becoming very popular again as a traditional speciality. Often it is served as a side dish with other traditional dishes - sour cabbage (sauerkraut), sour turnips, mushroom soup, etc.

For more photos see this LINK!

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