What Is Urnebes?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn
Hungarian paprika is traditionally used to season urnebes.
Hungarian paprika is traditionally used to season urnebes.

Urnebes is a type of salad made of cheese and peppers, as well as other secondary ingredients. This dish is popularly attributed to Serbian cuisine, or the food of the Balkan region once known as Yugoslavia. This ethnic food is somewhat obscure outside of its area of origin, but in some cases, it may be featured in cosmopolitan presentations of world cuisine.

The main ingredients of urnebes are often local varieties of hot or mild peppers. Cooks add the specific varieties of peppers to generate the desired levels of heat in the dish. Various cheeses are also added to provide texture and taste.

In addition to cheese and hot peppers, some other elements are common in urnebes. Some of these include cottage cheese or other soft cheeses. Another frequent addition is garlic, which can give this food a stronger taste. Peppery is also commonly used, partly because of its widespread utility in Eastern European cultures, and its wide availability in these regions. Many of these dishes may use versions of Hungarian paprika, rather than other regional types like the Spanish type of paprika.

Another common ingredient in urnebes is one that many gourmands may not expect. In many parts of the world, it goes by the name tomato catsup or ketchup. Not many complex dishes routinely involve this ingredient in the preparation of the actual dish, but according to some of the cooks who have made urnebes before, this simple condiment can add a lot to this sauce-type salad.

In some versions of this dish, cooks also add roasted red peppers. These can give the dish a more smoky flavor, as well as additional nutritional content. In general, urnebes can either be served hot or cold, possibly with additional food items that provide more solid texture.

As something that may be classified as a salad, urnebes can be quite controversial. Nutritionists would point out that this food does not have any carbohydrate element, and while the vegetable value of the peppers may introduce some dietary fiber and vitamins, the main ingredient, cheese, makes this menu item pretty high in fat. Many cooks would categorize this dish more as a rich spread for snacking, rather than a salad. Consumers in various markets usually consider it a snack spread as well, although eaters in many parts of the world may not distinguish between snack foods and those that form parts of traditional breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

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    • Hungarian paprika is traditionally used to season urnebes.
      Hungarian paprika is traditionally used to season urnebes.