Shepherds’ food in their summer pasturing

Sometimes a recipe translated from another language has an intriguing allure, even if you don’t quite understand what you are making, what it should be like when it’s finished, or even what exactly the ingredients are… I think a dag, the unit of weight here is a dekagram, ten grams; kaymak is made from milk, usually cow’s but also sheep or goat’s…

‘Kaymak is easy to prepare: the milk is boiled, poured into a wide-mouthed dish and left uncovered until next day in a cool place. next day cream is carefully skimmed off and ideally put in a little wooden tub. if such a tub is not available any other fairly narrow or earthenware receptacle may be used. Several layers of cream can be placed one above the other with salt sprinkled between the layers and repeated over several days, until the tub is full, it should then be covered with a clean cloth over which a wooden lid is laid. Kaymak should be kept in a cool place.
If it is not used at once then extra salt should be put between the layers of cream, then it is known as ripe kaymak.
There is nothing else quite like kaymak. It can be added to other dishes, be eaten by itself on bread or toast or used as one of the dishes with assorted cold starters or at cold suppers.
If all this seems too time consuming then a tolerable substitute for kaymak can be made by mixing one part of butter to two parts shop-bought cream cheese.

Montenegro Kačamak

  • 50 dag/1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 25 dag/9 oz cornmeal
  • 25 dag/ 9 oz kaymak (or butter)
  • sour milk/sour cream
  • salt
  1. cook potatoes in salted water
  2. when the potatoes are cooked add the cornmeal and cook for 20 mins
  3. mix well into a smooth batter
  4. season and add kaymak or butter
  5. serve with sour sheep’s milk

Kačamak, pura, polenta or mandra (shepherds’ food in their summer pasturing of the sheep) can be made of corn, barleymeal, buckwheat or ordinary flour or semolina.
It is easy to make. Whatever cereal is being used the flour or semolina is slowly poured into boiling water and cooked until it leaves a wooden spoon clean. It can be eaten with milk, cream, sour cream or sour milk. In some parts well crushed garlic is added to the milk or cream. Or crumbled cheese can be added. If the kačamak is cooked very stiff it can be eaten soaked in hot milk. it is also served with apple or sugar or jam, or to accompany other dishes.

Yugoslav Specialities – by Ljiljana Bisenic

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