Anyone who knows me, knows I'm guilty of fangirling over the potato.
From the classics of chips and creamy mash, pastries and pies all the way to fritule (potato doughnuts), there is just so much to love about its personality and versatility.
Often layered between pastry sheets or soaking in a hearty stew, potato featured so heavily in my upbringing and it was not only cost-effective and filling, but it was also bulk-effective and easy to tuck it away under the laundry and kitchen sink cupboards without fail.
I still remember my mother rolling out her homemade pastry onto cotton sheets, begging us not to touch or step on them. Pita was my lunchbox food and burek was the meaty winner that mum would often serve with chopped potato because she knew what a spud fiend I was. This recipe is also great with store-bought filo sheets if you're on a time crunch and kajmak (clotted cream), ajvar (capsicum relish) and plenty of cracked pepper are all screaming for a piece of this pie.
While most of my associations do tell the pita tale, it is, in fact, kljukuša (pronounced klyu-kusha) that I often overlook. Probably because it is such a staple and was the stuff of university share-house dreams; comfort + ease/condiment stacking potential, I think was the formula I remember needing at the time.
Like most dishes, you'll often find slight variations from Bosnian household to household, some including eggs, sour cream or milk, while others are topped with garlic and yoghurt. Mine is a little combination of all of the above, featuring salt, pepper and Vegeta and ajvar.
Kljukuša typically consists of potato, flour, oil, salt and pepper and is baked in the oven until golden and crisp on top and juicy in the middle. I liken it to hashbrowns, meets, rosti but in a pie-like form, and if that is all too confusing to wrap your head around then just make it and devour.
Crisp it up at home
Serves 2 (sometimes 1 if you're that kind of potato lover)
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Grate into a bowl:
- 600 g potato, peeled
- 1 onion, peeled
- 1 tsp Vegeta
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp salt
Add to the potato and onion mixture:
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 60 ml vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp water (or milk)
Combine this mixture well and I definitely recommend using your best tools, your hands, to do this.
Scatter and gently press the mixture into a greased 23 cm round baking tray. The smaller the tray used, the thicker the kljukuša will be and you'll need to increase the cooking time slightly to ensure the potatoes are cooked through.
Bake at 200°C for 30-40 mins until crisp and golden on top. Serve hot with a friendly dollop of sour cream and/or ajvar.
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For this recipe, you’ll need some leftover fat and juices from roasting a chicken. It’s best to make the mash while the potatoes are still hot, otherwise they go gluey.
My go to midweek meal. Love this classic Aussie pub dish! Especially when the footy is on.