Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients.
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8 May 2013 - 4:57 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Garlic

Used liberally in many dishes, garlic adds flavour to everything from soups to homemade sausages.

Cabbage

Cabbage is both eaten raw and finely shredded in the famous cabbage coleslaw with a simple vinaigrette dressing, as an accompaniment to grilled meats or as preserved leaves (sauerkraut), for making cabbage rolls and hearty soups.

Potatoes

Potatoes are another popular staple, be it the baby chat potatoes that are frequently used in salads, the potatoes roasted under the peka, or those boiled and made into dumplings.

Olive oil

As in much of the Mediterranean, olive oil is an essential kitchen staple. Many families along the Dalmatian coast even make their own.

Polenta

A coarse meal made from corn. Boiled in water and simmered until thick, polenta is an essential accompaniment to many Croatian dishes such as the famous seafood brodett. It is available in a range of textures from fine to coarse.

Paprika

Paprika is available in mild and hot versions and is most commonly used in the inland part of Croatia close to the Hungarian border in dishes like paprikas (a classic Hungarian chicken stew made with sour cream and paprika) and gulyas (a soup or stew of meat and vegetables heavily seasoned with paprika).

Ajvar

A relish made from grilled red capsicum, eggplant, garlic and olive oil. Available in hot and mild variations, it is often served with grilled and roasted meat such as cevapci.

Plum jam

A Croatian spread made from small native plums, it is a favourite for baking as it tends to keep its shape rather than spreading while cooking.

Smallgoods

The Croatians love smallgoods and have created many of their own special varieties including kulen from Slavonia - a spicy, pure pork and garlic sausage in a natural casing from a pig’s appendix; suha slanina, the name for speck which is used in soups and in cabbage rolls or sarma; csabai, popular on its own or in a layered potato and sausage dish called rakott krumpli; suha koljenica are smoked hocks used in soups, with cabbages or cooked with dried beans; and the one we’re probably most familiar with, cevapci (skinless sausages cooked over charcoal).