Boya? Boia? Boy-I need your help

Hello everyone! I hope you all had great long holiday weekends filled with lots of family, fun and FOOD.

I spent my holiday weekend visiting family but not exactly celebrating Thanksgiving (since we already had, remember?). Instead I ate lots of salmon, Indian food, and a very interesting food that I cannot, for the life of me, find a recipe for.

Before my troubles, I was hoping to provide you with a post filled with pictures and a recreation of this fantastic appetizer, but instead, I am beckoning for help.

So, please help me. Here’s what I know:

It was a sort of flatbread made from soaking leftover bread in water, drying it out, and roasting it with olive oil and spices. It was crispy and very flavorful.

The host who had us over believes it is a Russian dish, called Boya. But, when I look up boya anywhere (yes, I tried all sorts of spellings and googling every key word possible) or ask people – no one has any clue what I’m talking about!

I even tried to enlist the help of foodie forums like this one but alas, no help there (yet).

-Hillary, hoping someone answers!
Editor, Recipe4Living

  • Denise Serbin

    Dear Hillary,
    I believe the bread that you are referring to is of Hungarian origin. We have a wonderful Hungarian restaurant here in Pittsburgh, PA called “Josza’s that serves this very bread! I agree that it is spectacular–never had anything else like it! My husband lived and worked in Moscow for three years and is fluent in the language and he confirmed that it is not a Russian dish. I would recommend calling Josza himself, as he is the chef and is quite gregarious and very talkative! Their number is 412-422-1886.
    Tell him a dining fan of his passed this along to you. If this fails, I have a friend whose mother was born and raised in Hungary, she might know the recipe.
    Happy hunting!! Denise Serbin


    I too would like to try this bread. XAN

  • Hillary

    Denise – Thank you, thank you! That sounds more promising than anything else I have come across.

    Xan – Me too! I’ll update this post if I come to definite closure.

  • Pete Tiziani

    My great aunt, who was from the Italian Alps, also made a dish called “boya” or “boia”, which I’ve likewise never found any written recipe for. It might be an entirely different dish, however. Here’s the way my great aunt made it.
    Take peppery “pastene” sausage, and roll it into 1″ meatballs. If you can’t find any “pastene” sausage (which was a regional specialty), regular Italian sausage would be a close substitute, or use whatever sausage is your favorite.
    Brown the sausage meatballs, and then make a “polenta” over them. The standard recipe for polenta is 3.5 to 4 cups water to one cup cornmeal with a small chunk of butter, a little grated cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. The polenta will take 30 to 40 minutes to cook, but it must be stirred frequently or else it will clump on the bottom of your pot and burn. Polenta has a nasty tendency to “spit”, so a long sleeve shirt and use of the longest “stirrer” you have is advised.
    When the polenta is close to being done, add a splash of white vinegar, to taste. The boia should be served while still somewhat soupy. A good accompanyment for it would be a slice of sharp cheese and a green salad.
    This was definitely “poverty” cuisine, but it’s uniquely satisfying on a cold, late fall or winter day. And as you found, very few people have ever heard of it, even among the old Northern Italian families.

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