Arakas – peas the Greek Way
Arakás is a dish ideal for a quick and easy complete vegan meal any day of the week, throughout the year. It is a garden pea, carrot and potato stew with simple, clean flavours and beautiful textures, characterised by the fruity flavour of olive oil and the aromas dill and parsley.
Arakás belongs to Laderá, a category of dishes which is a staple in the weekly Greek diet and which literally translates to ‘with oil’ or ‘oily’. Rather than cooking vegetables as a side, the vegetable of choice is the main event, with a similar process of preparation for each Ladero dish but different vegetable and herbs starring in each recipe depending on the seasonality and accessibility of vegetables, e.g. Okra, aubergine, green beans, etc.
Modern Greeks still eat copious amounts of Laderá despite their increasing gyros and souvlaki eating habits – they are healthy, affordable and delicious staples of a balanced diet. And for convenience it is ingenious to have dishes which provide you with a whole meal in a pot making vegan and vegetarian food easily accessible throughout the year. With frozen peas available this dish can help you make the most of small quantities of carrot and potato you have left over. Just bag yourself some dried dill and parsley to use in this recipe in the future so that you don’t have to find fresh herbs each time.
- 500g frozen garden peas
- 2 carrots, sliced in thick rings or cubed
- 1 large potato, peeled and cubed (walnut size cubes)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 200g chopped tomatoes or passata (or 1 large fresh tomato grated or 1 Tbsp. tomato paste)
- ½-1 small bunch of dill (up to 20g)
- A few sprigs finely chopped parsley
- 2 tsp sea salt
- Coat the bottom of a medium sized pot with the olive oil.
- When hot add the chopped onion with a teaspoon of salt and sauté on low heat until translucent.
- Add the potatoes, carrots and pepper. Stir well to coat the oil.
- Add the frozen peas and stir well until they are also well coated with oil.
- Add the tomato of your choice stirring well for a couple minutes to start the cooking process and release the tomato flavour.
- Finally add the herbs and up to 1.5 cups boiling water with another teaspoon of salt.
- The water should cover the ingredients but should not be too much as you are aiming for a dry stew rather than a soup or saucy dish.
- Stir well and when the contents come to the boil simmer the stew for 30 to 45 minutes.
- The food is ready when liquid is absorbed. There should be enough liquid to sponge up with nice slice bread but not so much as the vegetable swim in it.
- Cool down the dish for 10-15 minutes before serving. This dish is delicious in room temperature or reheated up to two days from cooking. It also freezes well.