Podvarak, the Serbian medicine after rakija infused nights

The Serbian cure: podvarak.

The Serbian cure: podvarak.

We already gave you some tips and tricks to get rid of your hangover. But every country has its own traditional dishes to make the process go faster. We like to give you a taste of the international anti-hangover cuisine. This time we share a recipe for Podvarak from Serbia. A country with some excellent drinks and some of the most hardcore drinkers you’ll ever meet. The main ingredient of podvarak is sauerkraut, which as you probably know works miracles when hungover.

When talking about Serbia it usually doesn’t take long before we’re discussing alcohol. The country has an awesome drinking culture. Not only do the habitants enjoy a good glass, they also love to make their own stuff. Every family has at least one person makes his own rakija, a spirit made from all kinds of fruit. Plum is most common, but there’s also rakija from apricot, grape, pear and peach for example. After a double distillation the alcohol percentage of this drink can go up to 60 or even 70. Besides the local strong stuff Serbians just as easy enjoy a good beer, wine or imported liquors. Because when they party, they party hard.

No wonder the local cuisine has several dishes that are known to cure hangovers. We picked one with sauerkraut, called podvarak. This recipe also contains a nice amount of garlic, which is another typical ingredient for hangover cures. This dish is known to taste better on the second day after cooking. Which is perfect, because who wants to cook when he’s absolutely trashed in the morning right?! Hope you’ll enjoy this one. Živjeli!

500 grams of bacon
1 cup olive oil
1 onion
10 cloves of garlic
5 bay leaves
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup long-grain rice
1/2 head of fresh cabbage
2,5 kilo sauerkraut
1,25 liter chicken broth

Put a large cooking pot (Dutch oven) on the fire. Cut up the bacon in small shreds and fry them until they’re golden brown. Then add the oil and the chopped onion. Cook it for about 10 minutes until the onion is tender. Now you can add the garlic (chopped), bay leaves, paprika, pepper and rice (be sure you properly rinsed this first). Let this mixture simmer for about 5 minutes.
Now shred the cabbage and add it to the pot. Let it cook for another five minutes. In the meantime drain the sauerkraut and be sure you save the liquid somewhere, because this brine (in Serbia known as rasol) is a hangover cure at itself. Add it to the cooking pot along with 0,75 liters of the chicken broth. Bring the whole thing to a boil and then reduce the heat. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, in which you stir from time to time.
Now you add another 0,25 liters of chicken broth and cover up the pot. The next 1,5 hour you just let it simmer as you add some of the remaining chicken broth from time to time. Then remove the bay leaves and the podvarak is ready for serving.

Micky Bumbar

Check out more tasty hangover cures from around the world

11 thoughts on “Podvarak, the Serbian medicine after rakija infused nights

  1. Pingback: Serbian folktale: How the Devil finally tricked the clever Saint Sava with rakija | Lords of the Drinks

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