One of Greece’s most famous lathera (oil-based vegetable stews), arakas can be made with tomatoes or artichokes, but this recipe keeps it simple with potatoes and carrots. With some crumbled feta cheese (authentic or vegan) on top and a crusty bread on the side for dunking, this simple meal actually tastes like a feast – good enough to make even the pickiest meat-eaters long to eat their veggies.
As with all lathera, you need a good quality olive oil to make this scrumptious meal.
If the peas are fresh, mix them with the coarse salt in a colander, and let sit for a while. This will remove some of their liquid, and make them tastier. Then rinse and strain your peas well.
Heat the oil in a large pot, and add the onions and the carrots. Sauté until the onions start to turn soft, sweet and golden.
Add the peas and potatoes, and stir well to cover everything in oil. It’s important to add the potatoes now, as they will help give the sauce some body.
Add enough water to cover about half of the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the temperature to a simmer.
Cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables have all softened and the liquid has reduced some.
Before removing from the head, add the dill, cumin and pepper, stir well, and cook for one more minute.
Try your stew to see if it needs salt, and season to taste.
Add lemon to taste, or serve with lemon to be squeezed over the plate.
Tip: The secret to tasty “araka,” is not to add salt until the end.
This recipe was previously published in Greek at gastronomos.gr.
1 kg fresh or frozen peas
1 tbsp. coarse salt
3 onions, finely chopped
2 medium sized potatoes, roughly diced
2 medium sized carrots, chopped into 5mm coins
1 bunch of dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
salt and pepper
1 teacup olive oil
a squeeze of lemon juice