The city of Sinj is a true gourmet paradise, well known for the unique and tasty dishes prepared there. Apart from the arambaši of Sinj, habitually hospitable locals will gladly offer you various other kinds of delicacies, such as frogs, noble crayfish, trout from the river Cetina, dessert ravioli of Sinj, and many other specialties typical of the Dalmatian hinterland.
Arambaši of Sinj
The arambaši of Sinj is the best-known specialty dish of the Sinj cuisine, which has recently been included on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The name arambaši probably comes from the word harambaša, a loan word from the Turkish language, which means the leader of the Hajduci (highwaymen), or specifically in the region of Sinj – the chieftain, or the commander, of the troop of the Alka squires in the Alka tournament. The arambaši are an essential part of a festive menu, cooked on occasions such as Easter, Christmas, the Assumption, the Alka tournament, and others. The main ingredients used to prepare the arambaši are chopped beef, chopped smoked bacon and a blend of spices (garlic, onions, parsley, pepper, salt), which are mixed together and then wrapped up in pickled cabbage leaves to form rolls. The rolls are placed in a pot on top of a piece of beef bone, and are then covered with cut up pickled cabbage. A piece of prosciutto or smoked beef is then added to the pot, as well as some homemade smoked sausages (sužduk). The whole mix is then poured over with enough water to cover the ingredients, and left to cook for several hours without stirring. With protective jealousy, the residents of Sinj will point out the difference between the arambaši and the regular dish of sarma. According to the traditional recipe, it is specifically emphasized that the meat for the arambaši should be chopped instead of minced. The dish of sarma is prepared using the minced meat, and unlike the arambaši of Sinj, it also contains rice.
Uštipci of Sinj
Another essential festive delicacy from the Sinj cuisine, which is quite common in everyday menus as well, are the uštipci of Sinj. Brilliant in the simplicity of their preparation, they make a delicious dessert. They are also a perfect match to a glass of vine, such as the ancient local vine called hrvaština, or eaten with cheese and the renowned Dalmatian prosciutto of Sinj. The preparation of uštipci begins with sifting and salting 1kg of wheat flour. Two whole eggs, two spoons of sugar and enough warm water are added to the flour and thoroughly mixed with a spoon to form a batter whose consistency is like that of pancakes. The housewives of Sinj will readily share their secret ingredient – adding a measure of rakija, a homemade grape brandy, to the batter to prevent the uštipci from soaking up too much fat while frying. Put a lot of homemade butter in the pan. Melt the butter and wait until it is well heated up. Then, pour the batter over the melted butter forming long and thin uštipci. While still hot, the uštipci can be sprinkled with white granulated sugar.
Prosciutto of Sinj
The residents of Sinj will often tell you that the best complement to the uštipci is the renowned Dalmatian prosciutto of Sinj. It is a unique delicacy with a long and respected tradition of preparation in Sinj, the taste of which is incomparable to any other smoked meat product. Owing to the trade secrets developed over centuries and passed from one generation to the next, as well the strict rules of storage, favorable geographic position and irreplaceable, cold wind of bora rushing down the nearby mountains, the prosciutto of Sinj is one of the foremost Croatian products. Every year it represents the most prominent selection of products on National Fair of Prosciutto Ham and Dry-Cured Meat Products with International Participation traditionally held in Sinj.
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