Traditional Croatian Recipes

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Black risotto

Black risotto (Crni rižot) or cuttlefish risotto is a type of seafood rice dish and one of the tastiest Croatian recipes. It is an absolute must-try when in Croatia, and you can find it in almost all restaurants from Rovinj to Dubrovnik. It is quite easy to prepare, so just follow these simple steps and prepare this tasty Croatian dish for your family and friends.

Arborio rice

Ingredients

300 g rice
500 g squid or cuttlefish
250 g gamberetti (optional)
2 sacs of squid ink
2 garlic cloves
2 onions
2 dl red wine
700 ml fish stock
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Remove innards from squid by pulling tentacles from the body and carefully remove the ink sac. Place the sacs in a glass with some extra virgin olive oil.
Remove the skin, wings, backbone, and eyes. Wash and cut the squid into smaller pieces (1cm).
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with high sides and add the finely chopped onion and garlic. Cook shortly until golden brown, then add the squid bits.
Cook for ca 2 minutes, tossing occasionally, then add the wine.
When wine evaporates, add the rice and cook, stirring constantly until it turns opaque.
Gradually add the stock and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
After 5 minutes, add squid ink, stir well and proceed by adding the rest of fish stock.
When the rice is cooked, remove from the fire, add parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with parmesan cheese.

Black risotto

Additional tips

  • Short-grain rice has a high starch content and tends to absorb less liquid, resulting in a delicious, creamy risotto. We recommend you to use Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano variety.
  • Fish stock must be cold and added gradually.
  • Stir the risotto frequently.

 

16.06.2017 / by / in
Red risotto with shrimps

Cheer up your taste buds and prepare a delicious and super creamy red risotto with shrimps. Well, when in Croatia, especially in Istria and Dalmatia region, you can enjoy in a great variety of delicious traditional seafood dishes. Other than a tasty octopus salad, stuffed squid, grilled fish etc, there are several appetizing risotto dishes you should add to your must-taste list. Today we bring you the aforementioned tasty recipe that you can easily prepare at home in less than half an hour and bring the flavors of Croatia to your kitchen.

Arborio rice

Ingredients:

320 g rice
400 g shrimp tails
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1,5 l fish or vegetable stock
40 g tomato paste
150 ml dry white wine
20 g butter
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Preparation:

Peel the shrimp shells, devein the tails with a tip of a knife and rinse them under the cold running water.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with high sides and add the finely chopped onion and garlic.
Fry shortly until golden brown, then add shrimp tails.
Cook for ca 2 minutes, tossing occasionally until shrimps turn opaque, then add the wine.
When wine evaporates, add the rice and cook, stirring constantly until it turns opaque.
Add the tomato paste and stir well.
Gradually add the stock and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Cook until rice is al dente.
Stir in chopped parsley and butter, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

red risotto with shrimps

Additional tips

  • Short-grain rice has a high starch content and tends to absorb less liquid, resulting in a delicious, creamy risotto. We recommend you to use Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano variety.
  • Vegetable stock must be cold and added gradually.
  • Stir the risotto frequently.
  • You can make this risotto more appetizing by adding calamari.
17.05.2017 / by / in
5 Homemade Lavender Products

Croatia is one of the largest producers of lavender, which is one of the most popular Croatian souvenirs. It mostly grows on the rocky hills of Dalmatian island of Hvar and it is known for the highest quality among all sorts of lavender grown throughout Europe. You can buy numerous eco-lavender products when visiting the island of Hvar, but they can be found almost everywhere in Croatia. If you have lavender plants at home, you can use some of these simple recipes to prepare homemade body care products as lavender is a plant with numerous beneficial properties.  So here are 5 recipes for preparing special homemade lavender products.

Lavender fields

Lavender essential oil

It is one of the most useful and beneficial essential oils. Lavender oil is not hard to make and you can use it for preparing different body care products, vaporize it for fragrance, for alleviating allergy symptoms and much, much more. So follow these 4 easy steps for preparing your own lavender essential oil:

  1. Put your fresh lavender flowers in the open container and let them dry in the sun for a few hours. When the flowers are dry, crush them gently with a mortar. Do not crush them too much because they can lose the essence.
  2. You will need 3 glasses of almond oil for a glass of lavender flowers. You can use olive oil if you don’t have the almond oil, but the lavender aroma won’t be intense as in almond oil.
  3. Heat the almond oil over a low heat and add dried lavender flowers. Maintain low heat and let the mixture simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let it cool and strain out all the flowers, put the oil in a glass container with a lid, and store it in a dark place. Add some drops of Vitamin E to extend the expiration date.

Lavender Body Butter

Lavender boy butter is perfect for all skin types. It is great as a night cream, you can use it for dry skin, as a relaxing body butter adding more drops of lavender essential oil or for the itchy and irritated skin.

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon of almond oil
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa butter
  • 2 teaspoons Honey
  • 1 tablespoon of Aloe Vera gel
  • 2 tablespoons of grated beeswax
  • Vitamin E
  • 8 drops of lavender essential oil
  1. In a double boiler combine all the ingredients except Vitamin E and essential oil.
  2. Bring to medium heat and stir until the mixture melts.
  3. Add lavender essential oil and a few drops of Vitamin E and stir well.
  4. Pour it into a glass container and let it cool completely before you cover it.

Lavender soap

Lavender Soap without caustic soda

  • 5 liters of water
  • 2 lb (1 kg) of ashes
  • 1 liter of olive oil
  • 0.15 lb (70 gr) starch (rice)
  • 30 drops of lavender oil
  1. First, you will need to make lye water from wood ashes and water. Pu water and the ashes into a pot, cook the mixture over a low heat for about 2 hours.
  2. Place a cloth over a bucket and pour the lye water.
  3. In another pot pour the oil and bring to a temperature of about  30°C (86°F).
  4. In a bucket leave about half a liter of lye water to which you add the starch. Pour the remaining lye water into the olive oil.
  5. Stir well and add the remaining lye with the starch. Add a drop of lavender essential oil and continue stirring for a few minutes.
  6. Add some dried lavender flowers on the bottom of the mold, put the soap into a mold and leave it in a dry place for about two weeks.

Lavender Hvar

Lavender  Shampoo

  • 1 cup organic Castile liquid soap
  • 1 tablespoon of almond or coconut oil
  • 3 teaspoons of honey
  • 4 tablespoons of almond milk
  • Vitamin E
  • 30 drops of lavender oil (you can add 10 drops of other essential oil if you like Peppermint oil)
  1. In a bowl, mix honey, almond milk, coconut oil and a 1/2 cup of castile soap and stir.
  2. Add a few drops of Vitamin E, lavender oil and the rest of castile soap. Stir well.
  3. Pour the shampoo into a glass bottle, put the lid on and shake well.

Lavender Lip Balm

If you have problems with chapped and dry lips, lavender lip balm is a perfect solution. It is easy to make and all you will need are a few simple ingredients. Instead of coconut oil, you can use other types of oils like olive oil, almond oil or peppermint oil.

  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cocoa butter
  • 1 teaspoon of shea butter
  • grated beeswax
  • Vitamin E
  • 8 drops of lavender essential oil
  1. Mix coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, 1 teaspoon of grated beeswax and a few drops of Vitamin E. Heat it gently until the mixture melts.
  2. Add 8 drops of lavender oil and stir well.
  3. Pour into a small container and let it become solid and voila, your perfect homemade lip balm.Lavender dried
06.05.2017 / by / in
Baked Octopus with Potatoes

Baked octopus is one of the most popular dishes in Dalmatia. Usually, it is prepared under the lid and as some of you who already visited Croatia may know this particular way of preparing food is called “Peka”.  Peka is practically a baked dish, like lamb or octopus with vegetables, prepared in a large pot, covered with “sač” (metal lid), and placed into the embers of a fireplace, covered with ashes and live coals.

When cooking octopus, the most important thing is to prepare it in a way that it becomes tender. Well, there are several ways to do that. Fisherman used to beat the octopus vigorously against the rocks, then dip it several times into boiling water, then they would proceed with cooking under the lid or some other way. Read our additional tips on how to prepare a super tender octopus meat.

Octopus

Ingredients

1 kg Octopus
800 g potatoes
4 carrots
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
200 ml white wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Preparation

Remove the innards, the tooth, and the eyes and wash it with cold water.
Peel the potatoes and carrots, then cut them into smaller pieces.
Peel and quarter the onion.
Toss the vegetables and the octopus in a large bowl and season with extra virgin olive oil and pepper.
Transfer to a lid and cover with foil.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C / 350F for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil, pour over the white wine and bake for a further 30 minutes or until vegetables and octopus are tender.

Baked octopus

Additional tips ♣

  • If you buy fresh octopus, freeze it before cooking as it will be much more tender.
  • Temper the octopus with salt before the end of cooking so it won’t harden.
  • If preparing this dish for more than 4 people you can add fresh, cleaned calamari.
  • It is always better to buy two smaller octopus (500 g each) than one bigger, as it will become tender faster.
  • If you buy a fresh octopus and you want to freeze it, remember to remove the innards, tooth, and the eyes before freezing it.
  • Another interesting way to prepare the octopus is to cook it in a large pan, without adding any water as it will quickly release its liquid. Cook until the liquid evaporates, then proceed with oven baking as indicated in the recipe above. In the same pan add white wine so it mixes with a dense layer created previously while cooking the octopus and pour it over the octopus and vegetables after removing the foil.

 

27.04.2017 / by / in
Top 16 dishes you must try in Croatia

One of the best ways you can immerse yourself in a culture of a state you are visiting is through the food. Local delicacies will answer many questions about the history, nature and the way people lived there. Croatian cuisine was influenced by the food customs of many other nations, as Croatian regions were ruled for centuries by various different foreign powers. Dalmatian cuisine is typically Mediterranean which entails eating fish, vegetables, large use of extra virgin olive oil and herbs. Istrian cuisine is very similar to Dalmatian cuisine, with a larger use of fresh pasta (fuzi), different herbs and truffles which are a must try when in Istria. Traditional Slavonian and Zagreb cuisine are very similar to Hungarian cuisine with a big influence of Central European cuisine, with a large use of smoked meat, strong spices, red paprika, pickled vegetables etc.

 

  1. Pasticada – Pasticada is one of the most delicious specialties of traditional Dalmatian cuisine. Pot-roasted beef with red wine, prunes, bacon and vegetables served with homemade gnocchi should be on your “to-eat” list when in Croatia. Also called “The Queen of Dalmatian cuisine”, pasticada’s roots date back to ancient Greek and Roman cuisine, but it was also well known in the Venetian Republic where it was made exclusively for nobility.
  2. Black risotto (Crni rižot) – or squid risotto is made with seafood and squid ink. It is an absolute must-try when in Dalmatia and almost every restaurant has it on its menu.Black risotto
  3. Sardines Round Cake (Viška ili Komiška pogača) – stuffed bread from the island of Vis. Ancient recipe brought on the island by Dionysius of Syracuse in 397 BC. There are two types of this bread, one is Viška pogača which is prepared with sardines and onions and the other one is Komiška pogača prepared with sardines, onions and tomato sauce.
  4. Fuzi with truffles (Fuži sa tartufima) – fuzi are a traditional Istrian homemade pasta, served with various sauces, but the most popular recipe is the one with truffles.
  5. Saur cabbage rolls (Sarma) – very popular recipe, especially during the winter holidays. Minced meat, spices and rice make the perfect stuffing wrapped in sour cabbage leaves.
  6. Mussels buzzara (Dagnje na buzaru) – Buzara is a method of cooking seafood like mussels, scampi, clams and other. You can find red or white buzara and the only difference is the use of tomato paste. Seafood is prepared with white wine, herbs and breadcrumbs.
  7. Gregada – famous Dalmatian fish stew prepared with various types of fish, white wine, herbs and spices. A must-try dish if visiting the island of Hvar.
  8. Paprenjaci – traditional Croatian biscuits, mostly prepared during Christmas holidays. These special cookies are made of an interesting mix of honey and black pepper. The main ingredients are honey, butter, eggs, nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts), pepper and various spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
  9. Strukle – very popular dish in Zagreb region. Thin rolled pastry filled with cottage cheese and sour cream, then rolled and cut into pieces, which can be boiled or baked.
  10. Soparnik – savory pie filled with chard is a very popular dish in Dalmatia, used also as a cultural trademark. Soparnik is made from common ingredients which are chard, onions and parsley placed between two layers of dough. Soparnik has been declared to be an intangible cultural heritage of Croatia by the Croatian ministry of culture.
  11. Krostule – famous carnival dessert, probably derived from famous Venetian recipe “Galani”. Long thin strips of dough, tied in a knot, deep fried and sprinkled with powder sugar.
  12. Walnut roll – tasty dessert made of sweet leavened dough containing walnut filling. It is often prepared along with poppy seeds roll.Walnut roll
  13. Rafioli – famous Dalmatian dessert made of pastry with almond, sugar and rum stuffing.
  14. Fritule – similar to mini donuts, fritule or pašurate are a ball shaped fried dough made with flour, milk, eggs and raisins, lemon zest and brandy. Usually prepared during winter holidays and carnival.
  15. Arancini – if you are looking for a perfect souvenir to take home from Croatia, then arancini are the best one, although they might disappear really fast. They are made of organic orange, lemon or mandarin skin, cut in strips, boiled and cooked with sugar, then left to dry for two, three days.
  16. Rozata –  definitely one of the most famous Dalmatian desserts, a delicacy for every palate. The first recipe appeared in the 14th century in Dubrovnik where the Venetian merchants most likely brought it from France (creme caramel) and modified by the addition of sweet liqueur made from rose petals.Rozata

Try also: Octopus baked under the lid, Octopus salad, Grilled sardines, Skradinski risotto,  Cheese from the island of Pag, Lamb baked under the lid, Caramelized almonds…

18.01.2017 / by / in ,
Dalmatian Pasticada

Pasticada is one of the most delicious specialties of traditional Dalmatian cuisine. Pot-roasted beef with red wine, prunes, bacon, and vegetables served with homemade gnocchi should be on your “to-eat” list when in Croatia. Also called “The Queen of Dalmatian cuisine”, pasticada’s roots date back to ancient Greek and Roman cuisine, but it was also well known in the Venetian Republic where it was made exclusively for nobility.

16.01.2017 / by / in
Caramelized Almonds
  • 100 g (3.5 Ounces) Almonds
  • 100 g (3.5 Ounces) Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  1. Put the almonds, sugar and water in a pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook and stir well until all the liquid evaporates, the mixture must not be sticky, all the liquid needs to evaporate. Remember to stir consistently.
  3. Put the almonds on a baking sheet with baking paper and separate the almonds and let them cool.
12.01.2017 / by / in
Octopus Salad

In Croatia, especially in Dalmatia region, octopus plays the main role in many healthy and tasty dishes like octopus under the lid, baked octopus with vegetables and various salads. Octopus salad is definitely a must-try dish when in Croatia accompanied by a delicious glass of local wine.

When cooking octopus, the most important thing is to prepare it in a way that it becomes tender. Well, there are several ways to do that. Fisherman used to beat the octopus vigorously against the rocks, then dip it several times into boiling water, then they would proceed with cooking under the lid or some other way. Read our additional tips on how to prepare a super tender octopus meat.

Octopus

Ingredients

  • 2 kg octopus
  • 15 – 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 15 – 20 black olives
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 g parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation

  1. Put the octopus in a boiling water and cook for about an hour on low heat and put the lid on.
  2. When the octopus is ready, put it under the cold running water for a few minutes and cut it into small pieces.
  3. Out it in a bowl and mix with previously chopped tomatoes and olives in half, or as you prefer.
  4. Season with chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley. You can serve it immediately or you can put it in the fridge for an hour if you prefer it cold.

Octopus salad

Additional tips ♣

  • If you buy fresh octopus, freeze it before cooking as it will be much more tender.
  • Temper the octopus with salt before the end of cooking so it won’t harden.
  • It is always better to buy two smaller octopus (500 g each) than one bigger, as it will become tender faster.
  • If you buy a fresh octopus and you want to freeze it, remember to remove the innards, tooth, and the eyes before freezing it.
12.01.2017 / by / in
Grilled Sardines with Garlic and Parsley Sauce
  • 20 fresh sardines
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of grated lemon peel
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Put sardines (whole or cleaned*) in a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, grated lemon peel, salt and 1 garlic clove.
  2. Cover it and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. In a small glass or a small bowl mix extra virgin olive oil, salt, chopped parsley and chopped garlic.
  4. Grill the sardines until charred, around 5 minutes per side.
  5. When ready place them with fish/meat turner or metal spatula on the plate and season with garlic and parsley sauce and serve with lemon wedges.
12.01.2017 / by / in

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