Friday, December 28, 2012

Making Muckalica in Budva, Montenegro

A few years ago John and I were in Montenegro which is a new name for an old country. Montenegro was once part of Yugoslavia and then Serbia but in 2006 it declared its independence from Serbia. Today tourism along the coast is developing rapidly with many new high-rise hotels being built. We stayed at one such hotel, the Queen of Montenegro Hotel, (Ul. Narodnog fronta bb, Becici/Budva 85310, Montenegro; phone, 382 33 662 662; where we paid $150 per night including breakfast.

Budva’s iconic image is of Stari Grad, the old fortress city on the edge of the Adriatic that is like a mini-Dubrovnik. We loved wandering the narrow streets of the old city and were enchanted when we heard beautiful singing of what sounded like traditional songs. We followed the music to a side street where a group of ladies in traditional costumes were practicing for an event they were going to sing at later that day. We really enjoyed the interlude because we had not witnessed much local culture. During our walks along the beach, which is the main draw in Budva, we noticed that the shops and restaurants seemed to cater to a Russian clientele. We were told that during the summer the beaches are crowded with tourists, mainly from Russia and the Ukraine.

We were in Budva during October and there were very few tourists. It was not the busy season so the hotel’s executive chef, Jovo Medin, was willing to show us how to make muckalica, a local favorite. We have found that chefs are proud of their work and, when not busy, happy to offer a complimentary demonstration. So there was no cost involved on our part. The food of Montenegro has been influenced over the centuries by the Italians, Turks, and many other nationalities. Muckalica is a traditional recipe that shows the Serbian influence in Montenegro. It is a great recipe that makes use of leftover meat.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3 medium onions, diced
1 medium tomato, cubed
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 pounds cooked meat cubed (veal, pork, or beef)
1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Heat oil in skillet. Add water, onions, tomatoes, green pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, red pepper, and dry mustard. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add cubed meat. Simmer for 15 minutes more, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with bread, rice, noodles or potatoes. NB: if uncooked meat is used then cook the meat in the skillet first, set aside, cook the vegetables, then add meat as indicated above. 

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