Adjika is a popular European side dish that is similar to a tomato pepper salsa. The tomatoes and peppers are cooked with carrots, apples and garlic to make a delicious combination that is savory, a little bit sweet, tart with a bit of heat too. It’s wonderful to serve with poultry, meat, seafood or even spread on black bread to enjoy with a bowl of soup.
The best way I can describe Adjika, or Adzhika is a tomato and pepper salsa. Every year, at the end of the summer, my Mom would make this delicious vegetable side dish to preserve and enjoy during the cold months. As the bountiful garden harvest comes to a close, canning all these delicious vegetables is a great way to make good use of every last bit of summer’s gifts. Every canning season doesn’t seem complete to me without making a batch of my Mom’s Adjika.
Adjika is made with peppers, tomatoes, carrots, apples and garlic that together make a wonderful combination of flavors. It’s usually served as a side dish, condiment and is often used to flavor other dishes. Since I don’t have any Georgian heritage in me and don’t really have any acquaintances from that particular region of the former Soviet Union, I’m pretty sure this is NOT an authentic recipe. This version is my Mom’s recipe, and her side of the family goes back to Belarus as far back as we know. I can’t vouch for authenticity like I said, but I can certainly guarantee that it tastes great!
It has a salsa like consistency, you can make it as spicy and hot as you like by adding more or less hot peppers. I like mine mild, so I keep the heat level pretty tame. With the addition of carrots, tomatoes, and apples, this pepper salsa is a perfect combination of flavors – peppery, acidic, slightly sweet and very balanced. Serve it alongside shish kebabs, chicken, fish as well as to flavor soups, stews, casseroles and on top of burritos.
Ingredients For Adjika:
- tomatoes – any tomatoes will work, but it’s best to use larger tomatoes, not grape/cherry tomatoes.
- bell peppers – any color or variety of sweet peppers can be used. I recommend using red, orange or yellow bell peppers.
- apples – any variety of apples will also be great in this recipe. I like using apples that are more tart, like Granny Smith apples.
- hot peppers – the hot pepper variety and amount is completely up to you, depending on how spicy you want the Adjika to be. Use poblanos and/or jalapenos for a more mild Adjika, or use much hotter peppers that will really give the Ajika a kick and put your mouth on fire.
- garlic – the garlic flavor is a must in Adjika.
- distilled white vinegar – you can use other vinegars, but it will change the flavor. Distilled white vinegar gives it a very clean flavor.
- sugar – regular granulated sugar or raw sugar
- oil – sunflower was the most common oil that we used in Belarus, so I like to use it hear to give it the flavor that I remember, but any oil will work – avocado, olive oil, grape seed, etc.
What is Adjika?
Adjika was created in Georgia, a country in the Caucasus region, at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is made by blending and cooking together tomatoes, peppers and a few other ingredients to make a salsa-like consistency that is usually spicy and can be used as a condiment, side dish or added to other recipes, such as entrees and soups.
How To Make Adjika/Tomato Pepper Salsa
- Wash and prep all the ingredients. Peel the carrots and apples, remove the seeds from the tomatoes and peppers. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and apples.
- Use a meat grinder or a food processor to finely chop all ingredients into a salsa-like consistency. If you’re using a meat grinder, you can cut the veggies into bigger chunks. I like to use the food processor, so I coarsely chop them so that the consistency would be the same.
- Place in a big stockpot or a heavy bottomed dutch oven and cook, simmering and covered for an hour. The vegetables will soften and the mixture will become more liquidy.
- Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, oil and garlic. Cook for another 15-20 minutes.
- Distribute the Adjika into clean jars and close with lids. If I make just one batch, I store it in the refrigerator. However, if you are making a large amount, make sure to sterilize your jars and lids before adding the Adjika. Then place the jars inside a large pot filled with water and boil for 10-15 minutes. Turn the jars upside down and cover with a towel.
- Store unsterilized jars in the refrigerator or sterilized jars at room temperature. You can also freeze Adjika for up to 6 months. Open jars of Adjika can be refrigerated for a week. Sterilized jars can be stored for months.
What To Serve With Adjika
- Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken
- Beef Fajitas
- Spread Adjika on top of a slice of Black Bread and enjoy it with a warm bowl or Borsch or Shchi (Russian Cabbage Soup).
- Add it to soups and stews, such as Borsch, Shchi, Tomato Meatball Soup, Braised Potatoes, and Instant Pot Braised Potatoes and Sausage, Beef Goulash, etc.
- Roasted Salmon – serve it on the side instead of the yogurt sauce or place on top of the salmon or any other type of fish.
- Omelet – one of my favorite ways to enjoy Adjika is to serve it with an omelet for breakfast or make baked eggs with Adjika.
Adjika is a popular European side dish from the Georgian cuisine that can be compared to a tomato pepper salsa, cooked with carrots, apples and garlic to make a savory, slightly sweet and spicy condiment or sauce.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
- Yield: 12 cups 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- 2 1/2 lbs tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb apples, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1–2 hot peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic head, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup salt
- 1/3 cup oil (sunflower, olive, grape seed, avocado etc.)
- Coarsely chop the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and apples.
- Grind in a meat grinder or use your food processor until it has a salsa-like consistency.
- Place in a big stockpot or heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and cook, simmering and covered for an hour.
- Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic. Cook for another 15 – 20 minutes.
- Distribute the adzhika into clear jars and close with lids.
- Sterilize the jars if you want to store them at room temperature for months, or refrigerate.
Keywords: Adjika, how to make adjika, adzhika, tomato and pepper salsa