Sharena sol is a Bulgarian mix of spices which plays a big role in the country’s traditions. It is also a very loved addition to different types of food. If you ever visited the country, you may have seen in the tourist shops some colourful jars with layers of spices. While they look pretty, the layering is a pure tourist attraction. And guess what, you can make the same blend in your own kitchen and add to your dishes a tasty Balkan flavour!
In this post I will give you a simple but flavourful Sharena Sol recipe that you can prepare at home. The recipe contains also a list of optional ingredients that you can experiment with.
It is hard to say where Sharena Sol comes from but it is considered a purely Bulgarian spice blend. The name translates to English literally as “Colourful Salt”. In fact my grandmother used to call it simply “savory” and I learned its official name later in my life. I guess it was probably because savory and fenugreek are two of its main ingredients and both are called with the same name in some parts of the country.
Ever since I remember, Sharena sol was always sold commercially in Bulgaria and I never wondered what it was made from. But in fact there are so many recipe variations, some of which are even more flavourful than the commercial blends.
What spices you need for this recipe
Different sources have different opinions about the mandatory ingredients of Sharena Sol. According to some, it must contain at least 5 spices in order to be “the real thing”. Which is probably true because the blend sold by most commercial brands contains the following ingredients: fenugreek, savory, corn flour, paprika and salt. What I don’t like so much about the commercial kinds is that the salt is often the main ingredient, hence the whole blend is way too salty.
I decided to dig a bit more and to look at various sources in order to come up with a still simple but flavourful recipe. Turned out that grated pumpkin seeds are another important ingredient. I don’t think they add too much flavour to the blend but they make the mixture fuller and bring taste.
So in my view the above listed 6 spices make the simplest kind of Sharena Sol that tastes great without being overwhelming. Some sources mention thyme and honey garlic to be also part of the mandatory ingredients but in my view they can be considered “good to have”.
Here are few more spices that you may or may not add to your blend: oregano, dill, black pepper, spicy pepper, cumin, spearmint, parsley, basil. I do not recommend you to add them all, but rather start with the base and then mix in one by one up to four additional ingredients. Make sure you taste the blend after each new spice.
How to make the blend
The best way to make any spice blend is to use whole dried spices and to mince them with a mortar and pestle or with a spice grinder altogether. This, however, is not always as easy as it sounds so you can just buy some or all of the spices already ground.
How to use the blend
Sharena Sol is traditionally served with bread. A very common Bulgarian-style breakfast is slices of bread or toast with butter, sprinkled with Sharena Sol. That’s for me the taste of childhood, especially if accompanied by a herbal tea.
But you can sprinkle Sharena Sol on many foods: creamy soups, rice, sandwiches, eggs, grilled meat or grilled vegetables. I am sure that once you try it, you would find many uses for it!
How to store this spice blend
Keep your Sharena Sol in a closed jar, in a cool and dark place. You can store it for about a year or even more, considering also on the expiration dates of the separate spices.
I hope you liked this recipe! let me know if you’ve made the blend at home: I would be really glad to know how you like to use it!
Here are some dishes in which you may use Sarena Sol:
Did you like this recipe? Let me know in the comments what you think about it!
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Sharena Sol Recipe
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek
- 2 tbsp dried savory
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp fine corn flour
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seed meal
- 1 tsp salt
Optional ingredients (don’t use all of them!):
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp dried honey garlic
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp spicy pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried spearmint
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried dill
- Combine all ingredients. If any of them need grinding, use a mortar and pestle or a spice or coffee grinder.
- Mix very well and transfer to a jar.
- Keep the jar closed with a lid.
- If you decide to add any of the optional ingredients, add them one by one and try the blend, before adding another. Beware that using them altogether is not a good idea. I would recommend adding a maximum of 4 optional spices.
- If you add any of the optional ingredients, feel free to add also more salt to taste.
- Store your Sharena Sol in a closed jar for about 1 year.