I recently did a deep dive into all the best and most famous Bulgarian foods, and I stumbled across: Katak.
I had never heard of it, despite having visited Bulgaria several times, so I set out to see what it was all about!
What is Katak?
Katak is a dip or spread made with Bulgarian white cheese, yogurt, and garlic.
It can be plain, but the more popular version is made with roasted red peppers.
What Does Katak Taste Like?
Katak is pretty similar to tzatziki. It’s a garlicky yogurt-based sauce but it has red pepper instead of cucumber.
The Bulgarian cheese does add a bit of flavor, but still the closest thing I can compare it to is a red pepper flavored tzatziki.
How to Make Katak
As I discovered, making katak is easy!
- 2 Red Peppers
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Cup Bulgarian Cheese (or feta)
- 1 Cup Plain Yogurt (Bulgarian, Balkan, or Greek)
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
Here is how to make katak. After you roast the peppers it takes only 5 minutes to make this dip!
Roast Red Peppers
Cut red peppers in half, clean them, and place them skin side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 450 F for about 30 minutes, or until skin starts to blacken.
Allow the peppers to cool and then peel.
The longer you roast the peppers, the easier they will be to peel, so don’t be scared to let them roast until good and done!
Assemble the Base
While the peppers are cooling you can assemble the base for the katak.
Crumble the Bulgarian cheese into a one cup measuring cup.
If you can’t find Bulgarian cheese locally, look instead for feta cheese that is made at least partially from sheep’s milk. I usually buy Krinos brand. Regular feta will also do, if that’s all you can get your hands on, but Bulgarian does taste slightly different.
Mix the cheese with the plain yogurt and paprika.
If you can’t find Bulgarian yogurt, Balkan yogurt will do fine and is available in most grocery stores. Plain Greek yogurt will also work.
I used smoked paprika, but I think regular might have been better.
Mix the ingredients until combined.
Finish Your Katak
Once your red peppers are cooled and peeled, pulse them in a food processor or blender with the garlic.
Add the garlic and red pepper puree to the yogurt and cheese base.
Mix, and enjoy!
You can add salt to taste, but I find katak to be plenty salty with just the cheese.
How to Eat Katak
You are supposed to enjoy katak with “fresh home-made bread” but I didn’t see any of that in my house, so we just dipped sticks of buttered toast.
I’m a big fan! I didn’t think it looked super appetizing in pictures, but it didn’t disappoint.
It would be delicious on pita bread! Of course if you are wanting the full Bulgarian experience, some rakia would not go amiss.
What to do With Leftover Katak
This recipe makes a lot, so you can easily half it if you only want to serve it once. If you have leftovers, you have options!
Katak goes great with souvlaki, or in homemade donairs. You could also use it for veggie dip, like you would with red pepper hummus.
I had quite a lot leftover so I used it as a pasta sauce with shrimp. Amazing!
I love tzatziki so I think I might switch it up and have katak more often.
Five stars for Bulgarian katak!