a recipe by Marta Dilparić
a film by Ivana Barišić

Serbia - The Netherlands

6h | For half a year


clock 6h | For half a year


  • 10kg sweet red peppers
  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 hot peppers
  • ½ liter sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of salt (add more upon taste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (add more upon taste)
  • Acetic acid

1. Wash the red peppers, hot peppers and eggplants carefully and dry them with a tea towel.

2. Roast the red peppers, the hot peppers and eggplants on a charcoal grill (or in an oven) until they are blackened all over. When finished, let them cool in a bowl with a plastic wrap.

3. When the peppers are done cooling, the peeling starts. Use a knife to remove skin, seeds and cores from the peppers, eggplants and hot peppers (use gloves for the hot peppers!).

4. Place roasted red peppers, hot peppers and eggplant pulp, in a food processor. Mince it in batches. Put the minced mix in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt and stir the mix.

5. Heat half of the oil. Put the minced mix slowly into the pan, a spoonful at a time. If it starts to burn add some more oil. Stir until it begins to thicken. When you can see the surface of the pan while stirring the ajvar, you will know that it is finished. When you are cooking a batch of 10 kg it takes approximately 2 hours. Ten minutes before the batch is finished cut the cloves of garlic and add to the batch. Stir well.

6. Wash the jars and lids with hot water and detergent. Put them on a rack in the oven at 150 Celsius for approximately 10 minutes to sterilize the jars. Turn the oven off. When the jars are heated and sterilized you can start adding the ajvar in the hot jars. When you have filled all the jars put them back in the hot oven without the lids. You don’t have to turn the oven back on. Leave the jars in the oven until the next day.
Use a kitchen brush to coat the ajvar with a bit of acetic acid on the next day. Close the jars with the lids and store them. Once a jar has been opened, keep it refrigerated. Unopened jars will last for approximately 6 months.

7. You can eat the ajvar with anything. On your bread, on your sandwiches and pizza’s, with other traditional dishes like burek, but also as a side salad. Enjoy!

Marta Dilparić was born in 1940 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She fled multiple times in her life due to different wars. Eventually, she ended up in a small village in Serbia where she still resides with my grandfather. Next to her house she maintains a garden where she cultivates all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Until a few years ago, there were also many animals. My grandmother is my biggest hero. In the madness in which we grew up, she managed to offer my sister and me a carefree childhood. She exhorted us to utilize every opportunity and go beyond our limitations.

Ivana Barišić (1991) was born 8 months before the Yugoslav wars reached her hometown in Bugojno, Bosnia. With her family, she fled to Rotterdam, The Netherlands where she has been living ever since. During her study in Visual Anthropology Ivana discovered her love for film. Ajvar is her second short film. Her work explores themes relating to migration, displacement and belonging.