It’s been weeks now since my holiday in Croatia and I still think about the meal that Captain Tomislav cooked up for our island picnic. I am yet to try making popara, the light fish stew that he made because I’ll have to get my hands on some crab and prawns in the shell, and in my limited daily routine – this will not be easy. So in the meantime I have consoled myself with something much easier to rustle up; pogača or pogacha. When some friends visiting from Prižba came to stay with us when I was a teenager, we would be treated to dishes like pogača and hrstule and I have never forgotten how good they were. Pogača is more or less fried bread. It’s a common dish across the Balkan region. In other towns and other countries they might do it a little differently, like bake it or stuff it with various fillings, but on Korcula, they fry it.
As you know, I don’t have a grandmother handy, so I must make my own mistakes. I tried this recipe three ways in the hopes that one of the methods would yield a result I could call authentic. I baked it, I fried it and then I fried it after a second proving, and it was this last version that was the most successful. If you’re struggling with weight issues, don’t make this. Don’t even read this post. If you’ve got kids or visitors coming and want to offer an exciting alternative to dinner rolls – then try this for sure. It would make a lovely breakfast too. This recipe is for making a flat bread, and it’s similar to foccacia when baked, so feel free to experiment and cook it however you please. Frying the dough gives you a more substantial and yet surprisingly light texture with puffy mounds and crispy dells and the kind of imperfections that make them remarkably rustic.
1 packet of dry active yeast
1-2 tbs salt
1 tsp sugar
2 cups of warm water
3 tbs olive oil
4-5 cups of flour
In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Start with 4 cups of flour.
Add the water and oil and mix with a wooden spoon. If necessary, add just enough flour so that you can’t mix the dough easily.
Prove for 40min – 1hr
Break off small pieces, about the size of a large apple, and shape into rectangular slabs. Place the slabs on an oiled tray.
Prove again for about 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a frying pan, and when it’s nice and hot, but not smoking, carefully place the dough rectangles into the oil.
Fry on each side until golden on both sides.
Lay out to cool on plenty of paper towel.