The Croatian Moussaka That Swaps Eggplant For Fried Potatoes

If ever there were a country absolutely in love with a vegetable, that country would almost certainly be Greece, whose ardor for the eggplant runs deep. Just a few of the many ways Greeks enjoy this soft, mild vegetable that grows all throughout the Mediterranean is in eggplant dip, eggplant with rice, stuffed eggplant, and even sweet eggplant preserves made with honey, according to Olive Tomato. But the dish that most exemplifies the Greek love of eggplant is undoubtedly moussaka.

One of the country's national dishes, according to Greece Travel Ideas, moussaka is a layered casserole consisting, most typically, of soft, fried eggplant, a meat sauce containing ground lamb, and a rich bechamel sauce. Beloved across the country and around the world, the homey, filling dish is also the inspiration for a Balkan dish called musaka od krumpira, which swaps in potatoes for the eggplant, according to The Spruce Eats.

Croatian moussaka features layers of potatoes, ground meat, and an eggy custard

If you've spent time in the stunning Balkan nation of Croatia, which borders the Adriatic Sea, then you may have tasted a dish called musaka od krumpira. Far from light and lean, according to The Spruce Eats, this local take on the Greek dish of moussaka traditionally calls for frying thin slices of potatoes and layering them in a casserole dish with ground meat fried with garlic and onions. Unlike eggplant moussaka, the ground meat is not cooked in a sauce, and the dish doesn't call for a béchamel, instead pouring an egg-and-milk custard over the layered potatoes and meat, which browns and puffs when the dish goes into the oven.

The blog Balkan Lunch Box notes that the moussaka is actually made all across the region, not just in Croatia. The dish can be slimmed down a bit by using raw or parboiled potatoes, not fried ones, and some recipes call for sour cream to be mixed into the custard topping. 

Whichever way sounds good to you, this tasty, carb-heavy dish could be just the thing to tuck into on a cool evening, perhaps accompanied by a simple green salad.