Saint Nicholas’ Day or the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas, is a winter festival celebrated December 6th (in Western Christian countries) and the 19th (in Eastern Christian countries). It is also the Bulgarian Name Day for everyone named Nikola, Nikolay, Kolyo, Nikolina, Neno, Nenka, Nikolina or Nina. Saint Nicholas is believed to help sailors and fishermen. The autumn fishing season ends on this day. Fishermen eat the first fish caught right on the shore, before bringing the rest home to eat.

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Ribnik is carp wrapped in dough and a traditional dish on Nikulden. There are various ways to perpare this dish according to the region you live in. This recipe is Ribnik Plovdiv Style

  • 1 (2 lb) carp fish,cleaned, washed, wiped dry and salted inside and out
  • 6 onions, chopped
  • 1 green or red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, crushed small
  • 1 teaspoon ground winter savory
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or olive oil
  • 2 pounds bread dough (recipe of your choice)
  • Thread for sewing carp

Lightly saute onions, pepper and tomato until soft and translucent. Some water may be added to stew the mixture. Remove from heat, let cool.  Then add walnuts, savory and black pepper. Salt to taste. Stuff the carp and sew it up with a scalded thread.

Divide dough into two parts. Roll out each part to made a thick sheet the size of a baking dish the size of your selected fish. Put one piece in an oiled baking dish, oil the top and put the stuffed carp on it. Cover the carp with the other piece. Draw the carp’s head and scales on the top piece of dough and mold dough to form shape of fish. Oil and bake for two hours at 325F.

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