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Experience a Taste of Albania (From Your Own Home)

Experience a Taste of Albania (From Your Own Home)

APRIL  15,  2020    |    3.5  MINUTE  READ    |    CYDIL  WAGGONER

Like much of the world, you might be looking for new ways to enjoy life quarantined at home. We’ve gathered some playlists, a traditional recipe, an activity, and ways to pray for the country of Albania to breathe some fresh air into your routine! Follow the steps we’ve outlined below by yourself or with your family. You could even invite some friends to join you in celebrating Albanian culture—digitally, of course!

MUSIC: Here are some playlists you can listen to while preparing or enjoying this meal!

Albanian Folk Music:

Contemporary Worship Music (in Albanian):

a photo of Albanian Byrek

RECIPE: Albanian Byrek (Meat, Tomato, and Onion Pie) For detailed, step-by-step instructions, see my original blog post.


225 g. (½ lb.) ground beef
4 onions, chopped
4 large tomatoes, peeled, diced, and drained
Chopped mint
2/3 kg. (1 C.) cooked rice
256 g. (2 C.) flour
Warm water
Note: You can substitute store-bought phyllo/filo dough for flour and water.


If using store-bought dough, skip steps 2 and 5–8. Instead, divide the dough into two parts, one slightly larger than the other, and roll them out to create the top and bottom crusts.

  1. Brown ground beef in a skillet of oil. Add four chopped onions to the skillet. Stir and let cook.
  2. Add flour to a mixing bowl and add enough warm water to make a dough. Split the dough into two balls (one slightly larger than the other), cover, and set somewhere warm to rest.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the onions and beef, then add a handful of chopped mint. Stir, then let simmer for a while.
  4. Add rice to the beef, tomato, and onion mixture.
  5. Divide the larger ball of dough into nine smaller balls.
  6. Roll out one of the nine balls of dough. Brush it with oil and sprinkle with cornstarch. Repeat this step with each of the remaining eight balls, stacking them on top of each other as you go.Photo showing how steps 6 and 7 of the recipe are done
  7. Roll out the resulting stack of dough to create a thin sheet of crust large enough for your pie pan. Roll the dough gently onto your rolling pin to transfer it to your pie pan.
  8. For the remaining half of the dough, repeat steps 5–7.
  9. Fill the pie pan with the beef, tomato, and onion mixture, then fold the excess crust around the edges over the filling. Drizzle or brush oil over the dough, then add the top crust. Drizzle or brush more oil over the top crust.
  10. Bake at 200° C/400° F for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Drain any excess oil or absorb it with a paper towel.

photo of a plate of grilled vegetables and a plate of fresh fruit

To complete the meal, add one or more of the following:

  • Greek salad with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, olives (optional), and cubed feta cheese, dressed in olive oil and vinegar
  • Homemade french fries 
  • A side of sour cream or plain yogurt
  • Grilled vegetables drizzled in balsamic syrup
  • A plate of fresh fruit, drizzled in honey, for dessert (typical Albanian fruit plates include orange and apple slices, bananas, grapes, watermelon, and kiwi, depending on the time of year)

A photo of Ellie making paper sandals

ACTIVITY: Making Paper Sandals

The Via Ignatia, an ancient Roman road that connected Constantinople to Rome, winds through Albania. We believe that Luke and Titus, if not Paul himself, walked to Albania on this route: “I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum” (Romans 15:19 NLT).


Cardboard or cardstock
crafting paper or fabric strips
crafting pencils
glue* or tape
decorative paper
* hot glue gun shown, but only use with parental supervision


  1. Trace your feet on a piece of cardboard or cardstock, then cut out the traced shapes to form the ‘soles’ of your sandals.
  2. Attach straps from strips of fabric or construction paper and glue or staple them to your soles.
  3. Decorate your sandals as much or as little as you want! One idea is to write Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,” on the sole of your sandals and display where you can be reminded to bring the Good News wherever your feet take you!


  • Recovery from the 2019 Earthquakes: The country of Albania has been through a very difficult season as we endured two significant earthquakes in the fall of 2019. The second, on November 26, was the deadliest earthquake in the world in 2019. Pray for provision and healing for those affected.
  • Coronavirus Pandemic: Now we are (like much of the rest of the world) trying to survive the coronavirus pandemic with a very weak healthcare system. A large number of nurses and doctors have recently immigrated to Germany for better salaries. In addition, the closure of borders and non-essential business is financially devastating in a country where many travel to neighboring countries for part-time seasonal work and in an economy where the average salary is about $300/month. We also have yet to rebuild from the earthquakes. Pray for the physical and financial needs of Albania’s citizens.
  • Spiritual State: Most people in Albania believe in God but don’t necessarily believe in life after death or see themselves as sinners (only if their bad deeds outnumber their good deeds). With this perspective, why would one need a Savior? Pray that these difficult circumstances will turn eyes and hearts to God.

Author Bio: Cydil Waggoner and her husband, Nathan, served as directors of WGM’s Student Involvement Center at Asbury University for 13 years before becoming global workers in Albania, where they have lived and served with their two children, Ellie and Reni, for the past seven years.

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