Croatian Fried Eggplant (Pohana Balancana)

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

We only eat seasonal fruit and vegetables here. Unlike back in Australia, where we would go to the supermarket and buy any and all fruits and vegetables, not knowing which country it was imported from. Here in Privlaka, over 90% of the fruit and vegetables we eat on a daily basis come from one of our family members’ gardens. All are grown locally and without any pesticides or sprays of any kind. Truly organic and without the exorbitant price tag.

So when a new fruit or veggie is available, it’s an exciting time as it means many new foods land on the dinner table. It’s such a simple thing, but it makes you really appreciate what vegetables grow in which season and how the weather or wind can make or break your vegetable patch.

Right now, it’s eggplant season. And what a terrific start to the season we’ve had. A great eggplant dish that we love is a simple one and makes a great side dish or to eat a whole plate of them. Which yes, I have been known to do – on more than one occasion.

Eggplants are fresh from the garden.

Best of this entire recipe has a just a few ingredients and takes just a short time to prepare and cook. It’s known as Fried Eggplant or pohana balancana / pohani patlidžani.

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Tips From My Kitchen To Yours

  • Do not wear your Sunday best while making these. The frying part can get very messy, with oil spitting all over the place.
  • Ensure you leave enough time for the salting portion – you want to be sure that all of the excess moisture is released, or they’ll be soggy at the end. Plus, salting them ensures that they are not bitter tasting.

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Fried Eggplant Recipe (Pohana Balancana)

An easy step-by-step guide to making fried eggplant, from Australian expats living in Croatia.


  • Eggplants
  • Sifted plain white flour
  • Free-range eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Tablespoon of dried parsley
  • Oil



  1. Slice your eggplants no bigger than 1cm slices, and shower them with a generous amount of crushed sea salt; this is to draw out the excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplant. Don’t be shy here; you want to be sure that you have applied enough salt to really draw the moisture out, plus it gets washed off in the next step, so never fear about salt overload
  2. Arrange the slices onto a large tray, and allow them to stand uncovered for at least 30 minutes. If you have more time, great, leave them longer
  3. After the 30 minutes, take each slice and quickly rinse off under a slow running tap. You don’t want to be too rough, but you do want to wash off most of that salt
  4. Pat each slice down with some paper towel to remove the water. You want them to be pretty dry, then allow them to rest on a plate lined with some more paper towel

Crumbing station

Take three bowls and arrange them in a row, adding the following:

  1. Bowl 1: Sifted plain white flour
  2. Bowl 2: Lightly whisked free-range eggs
  3. Bowl 3: Take your favorite breadcrumbs (even better if you make your own), and add a tablespoon of dried parsley

Let the crumbing begin!

  1. Take each slice & roll in the flour. Move along to the second bowl and dip each piece into the egg mixture. Be sure to allow the excess eggs to drip off. Lastly, roll the pieces in the crumbs. Once you have finished this step, there is only one thing left to do

Get frying!

  1. Heat enough of your favorite frying oil in a frying pan so that each slice can shallow fry on medium heat. You do not want the pieces to be deep-frying, but one side needs to be fully immersed in oil
  2. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Allow each one to sit on some paper towel to soak up any residual oil. Repeat until they are all fried

Arrange on a plate and serve to your family and friends – that is, if you were able to resist temptation, by not eating them as you fried them. I always struggle at this stage.

Other Croatian recipes you may like are also available here. 

What do you think? Will you try them? Or, if you have another way of preparing them, let me know in the comments section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Comments (6)

  1. You look so good holding the pohane Balancane SJ ,love them ,no need to have meat this is a favourite for my daughter who is a you notice that the Dalmatian diet is so full of vegetable dishes?

  2. great recipe…..I also do it grilled, either balancana or tikvice, with a bit of Vegeta and olive oil!! it is also good!!

  3. Good recipe !
    Serve with home made sauce tartar, makes it even better.
    (make your own mayonnaise, so easy !!! and add what’s needed).
    Other recipe:
    as above, take two slices of balancana, filled with a slice of prsut and a slice of cheese, than follow recipe as mentioned, and again serve that sauce tartar.
    Also (here we go again) great:
    slice balancana, salt, dry, grill, chill, marinate in a vinaigrette, let stay overnight in the fridge and serve with loads of chopped parsley (and garlic).
    Life is good, but life is great in Dalmacija !

    laku noc, pim.

  4. I am Italian so we fry the slices of eggplant and layer them in a baking dish with some cooked tomato sauce, Mozzarella cheese, Ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese and a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder, starting and ending with layers of fresh eggplant slices. We cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven. This is a delicious casserole.

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