Croatian Peka For Vegetarians
This Expat Eats recipe comes from the Island of Vis. Well, kind of…Ispod Peke or Ispod Cripnje, to some, translates to under the bell, and Croatian Peka; it’s one of the most fabulous ways of cooking here in Croatia. This vegetarian option is being shared with you from Craig & Xania from Wearactive. They live on the Croatian island of Vis & offer guided activities and accommodation in their beautifully renovated old stone house.
Some time ago, I shared our secrets for cooking Ispod Peke; no huge secret to making a great Peka but rather a skill! If the veggie option does not tickle your fancy, you can see the meaty option we served up along with other recipes in our Croatian Cooking section.
On Vis and within Dalmatia, the Croatian ‘peka’ is everyone’s absolute favorite dish. A peka is a slow-cooked ‘under the bell’ baked dish. The plate is usually prepared about 4 hours in advance, and traditionally on Vis, you will be offered lamb, fish, or octopus. Because at Wearactive we provide vegetarian food for our guests, Rokis, a fantastic Vis restaurant, created a veggie peka.
Oliver Roki, the owner, always serves it with a huge grin, shake of the head, and a passing comment about the missing flesh. We love it, though, and our veggie guests really enjoy a slightly adapted Dalmatian dish. Our guests that are not veggie usually come from the restaurant raving about the tasty fish and super succulent lamb!
Hungry for Croatian peka? Here are two ways to make it, including the not very common vegetarian peka option.
- 2 quartered onions
- 1 kg peeled and quartered potatoes (2.2 lbs)
- 3 peeled and chopped carrots
- 5 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 chopped aubergine/eggplant
- 1 chopped courgette/zucchini
- 4 chopped tomatoes
- Drained tin of chickpeas
- 100 ml white wine (1/2 cup)
- Olive oil
- Seasoning and a handful of fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
- Oil a circular baking dish (that fits under the peka), add potatoes, onions and carrots, garlic, and some salt and pepper and mix
- Add half of the wine and a good splash of oil, and mix again
- Make the fire and preheat both sides of the ‘Peka’ (Croatian cast Iron bell). Put the baking dish inside and cover it with the Peka
- Add charcoal both below and above the Peka and leave it for 1 hour
- Then, add the other vegetables, chickpeas, and the rest of the wine
- Add more charcoal on top of Peka and cook until ready (approx 45 mins)
- Just before serving. add a handful of chopped fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Serve hot with bread and a strong red wine! We always eat the Peka with Rokis Plavac, a Vis island wine
If you want to enjoy this dish, along with kayaking, swimming & snorkeling on the Island of Vis, talk to Xania & Craig on their Wearactive website or Twitter and book in for some time out with them. We’d love to take the Baby Donkey over to see them this year, so we may see you there.
If you want to see what life on Vis is like, Zora, their dog, has this to show you…