Sunday, June 4, 2023

Gather Your Family Together for Macedonian “Turli Tava”

Maja Bilbilovska
Maja Bilbilovska
I have been working as a freelance writer for 7 years now and it is the best job ever. Why? Because I have the chance to help and inform people through words, writing self-help books, articles, blogs, etc. Practical, professional, productive, original, understanding and hard-working personality is what creates my unique and interesting work. Writing is my passion and there is nothing else in the world that can overpower it.
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When you crave for cooked veggies and meat at the same time the best dish we think of here in Macedonia is “Turli Tava”. It is a dish filled with different veggies and two types of meat, pork, and beef. To tell you the truth it is somewhat a mystery how just these ingredients turn out to be a wonderful dish. In fact, if you add even one more or you don’t use all the ingredients from the list you will end up with completely different flavor.

This means that you need to follow the instructions precisely if you truly want to try this Traditional Macedonian Dish “Turli Tava” or roughly translated “Mixed Baking dish”.

Turli Tava

“Turli Tava”

Prep: 30min Cook: 5-6 h Total time 6h 20 min Serving: 6-8


– 1 small Cabbage, chopped

– 1 Eggplant, cut into squares, peeled

– 1 lb. Yellow Beans (better if flat yellow beans) cut into halves or thirds

– 1 Zucchini, cut into cubes, peeled

– 2 Green banana pepper, chopped, sweet

– 2 Potatoes, cut into squares

– 1 lb. Pork Loin, chopped into cubes

– 1 lb. Beef Stew Meat, chopped into cubes

– 1 lb. Okra

– 1 Tomato

– Salt to taste

– Black pepper to taste

– 1 tsp. Red pepper

– Vegetable Oil

– 1 ½ cup Water and as needed


– 1 Baking Dish, large, and at least 4 inches deep (or more)

– Longer wooden spoon for easier stirring

Turli Tava


1. Preheat the oven 180C/350C Start by preparing the ingredients. Chop the cabbage, set aside in a bowl. Peel the eggplant and cut into squares. Trim and cut the yellow beans. Peel the Zucchini and cut into cubes. Peel the potatoes and cut into squares. Chop the peppers.

2. Chop the pork and beef into cubes. Set aside.

3. Trim the okras and wash them. If they are small leave them as they are. But if they are larger cut them into halves. Set aside.

4. Slice the tomato into thinner slices.

5. Now it is time to assemble the “turli tava”. You will need a bigger baking dish that is also at least 4 inches deep or more. To make it easier and to get it right the first time here is the order to layer the ingredients:

– Place ½ of the chopped Cabbage

– ½ cut Eggplant

– ½ of the Yellow Beans

– ½ Zucchini

– 1 Green banana pepper

– 1 Potato

– Now layer the meat first the beef and then the pork

Repeat with the remaining ingredients but don’t start with the cabbage but:

– Eggplant

– Yellow Beans

– Zucchini

– 1 Green Banana Pepper

– 1 Potato

– Layer the cabbage

6. Season with salt, red pepper, and black pepper and drizzle generously with vegetable oil. Layer the tomato circles. Pour 1 ½ cups of water.

7. Place in the oven to bake. Here is the trick, you will need to be always nearby to stir frequently and here the long spoon will help and plus because there are many ingredients.

8. The first time you will need to start stirring is when you see that the tomatoes start to wilt. So, once you see this start stir well but carefully.

9. Now stir every 10-15 minutes or see once it starts to get lightly browned stir. Ok, to make it easier, you don’t need to stir extensively just enough so that the top doesn’t burn. Once it reduces you can stir more. Also, make sure that there is water. If you see that it is too dry add 1 cup water at a time (if needed).

10. Bake for 4 hours stirring every 15 minutes. After 4 hours add the okras and stir.

11. Bake for 1-2 hours more until the meat is well cooked.

12. Once done remove from the oven and let it rest 20 minutes before serving.

13. Enjoy in this magical “turli tava”


– Don’t cover with foil just thinking that it will speed up the process and it will make your job easier since you won’t need to stir. This won’t give the good flavors that “turli tava” has.

– If you have a clay baking dish or you have a chance to buy one it will give an additional and special flavor to the food

Now you have one of the number one traditional Macedonian dishes. Yes, you will need to cook this in your free time because it requires a lot of attention and cook time but trust me it is all worth it.

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