The eternal “quarrel” between Bosnians and Herzegovinians and the region: Burek is a meat pie and that’s it!

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FOTO: MUHIDIN ŽIVOJEVIĆ

In fifteen minutes during our visit to Sarajevan buregdžinica (name for the shops devoted solely to selling pie) “Melina”, two excellent pie-makers managed to make three pies and take one out of the oven. It made our mouth water. They say they could have made another one. Moreover, all this while they were talking to us and showed us the skill of making one of the oldest traditional dishes in our area – pie.

– Is the rule, that a woman can get married once she learns to make pie, true or not – we asked them.

– My wife does not know how to make a pie at all – says Nedzad Bajrami.

– So how did she get married – we asked.

– Well, she doesn’t want to learn, she has me – Bajrami tells us through laughter, while skillfully handling the dough, saying that she got married regardless of the fact that she doesn’t know how to make a pie.

More than a regular meal

He has been dealing with this business for over 15 years, and although this “craft” has been passed from generation to generation – from mother to daughter, he learned the job from the pie-master, and later trained others.

Like all real chefs and craftsmen, he says one must first love something in order to do it, but also practice for a long time to improve the skill. Now it’s already a routine.

If the oven is good and well heated, 15 minutes in enough to bake the pie, and required ingredients are flour, water, and the filling. Once the pie is baked and taken out of the oven, i tis coated with oil or butter.

– You should check on it while i tis in the oven, in order to bake it evenly, put a baking paper over it – he reveals.

For people from our area, pie is much more than an ordinary meal. This is proved by the research of the British newspaper “Guardian”, where burek from Bosnia and Herzegovina took the fifth position on the list of the best street foods in the world.

Burek is a crispy and delicious specialty made of thin flaky dough filled with meat. It goes best with yogurt, and the younger population eats it often after long hours of partying, on their way back home. Therefore, for Bosnians and Herzegovinians, there is an unwritten rule that says that the burek is only with meat.

– Burek is a pie with meat and it cannot be otherwise. Although potatoes are added in some parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it’s not a ‘real burek’, it’s the so-called ‘colorful’ burek. But on the other hand, there are a lot of people who are not fond of burek, and they are solely looking for potato pie – says Nedzad, to which his colleague Betim Sulejmani adds that such are still in minority.

Record makers from Tuzla

People of Tuzla proved their love and respect for pie last month, making a burek for the Guinness Book of Records weighing 675 kilograms on a 180-kilogram baking dish. As Tuzla people say, a half of the cow is consumed in a giant burek, and the entire pie is eaten within half an hour.

For a good burek, Bajrami reveals, it takes good meat, a good mixture and, of course, a good pie-master.

A thorn in Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens’ eyes is the fact that all kinds of pies are called burek, thus you can order “cheese burek” or “burek with meat” in Croatia. The same thing is in Serbia where they went a step further selling “burek with cherries”.

– It will be an eternal ‘quarrel’ that we will have with the region, but what can we do. We know that in our region, burek can only be with meat and that’s it – a master of pies ends his story.