Gjirokastra Qifqi: The magic of traditional cooking

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 7, 2017 09:43

Gjirokastra Qifqi: The magic of traditional cooking

INGREDIENTS
500 gr rice
4 eggs
Mint powder (dried mint leaves)
Black pepper
Salt
Olive oil
 
Ready in 40 minutes
Serves 4 people
 
The traditional qifqi originates from the southern Albanian city of Gjirokaster. Shaped like meatballs, this vegan dish is easy to prepare and is considered as the national dish of Gjirokastra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The customized frying pan that is used specifically to shape qifqi is a very important component to this recipe, but especially the generous use of mint powder which leaves a pleasant, fresh aftertaste. 
 
Here is how to prepare this simple recipe:
 
• Rinse your rice in a strainer before cooking. Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan. You may use a 1:2 ratio of one cup of rice to two cups of water. Let it cook for 12 minutes. Alternatively, you may use leftover rice for this recipe. 
 
• Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Add mint powder and freshly grounded black pepper and salt. 
Mix and knead it together with the precooked rice until the mixture becomes solid.
 
• Use a tablespoon to divide the mixture into small rounded balls. Fry in heated 180 °C olive oil on a socket-bottomed frying pan (used specifically for this recipe; can be purchased in Gjirokastra).
 
We recommend pairing qifqi with a glass of dhallë (yogurt-based drink made with yogurt, salt and water). Certainly, the best spots to savour this dish can be found in the old town Gjirokastra – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 7, 2017 09:43