Ryba po grecku (Polish Greek-Style Fish with Carrots)

rybapogreckuKaterina, my Greek cuisine teacher, ย whose fascinating blogย Culinary Flavors is a constant source of inspiration, has recently asked me about Polish recipes. I looked through my old posts, then browsed through my food photographs and thought that this culinary connection ย between the two countries (at least in the name!) might interest her and some of my other dear visitors too. It’s one of the most popular Polish fish dishes and I have no idea if it bears any resemblance to any Greek recipe (Katerina, please, correct me if I’m wrong). It is light and usually served cold, but calls for typical autumn vegetables (carrot and celeriac), so it’s perfect to serve while autumn is still relatively warm and sunny (at least in Greece I suppose!).

If I describe this dish, it might sound boring and plain (fish fillets are fried and then covered with a mixture of carrot, onion, celeriac and tomato sauce), but in my opinion there is something magical in this recipe, transforming even the humblest fish fillets into a delightful, complex treat after a night spent under an aromatic, flavoursome red-orange duvet. It is usually served cold, as a starter or among other dishes at a buffet party (actually it might be considered as a fish salad), but some people like to have it warm too. Personally, I prefer it after a whole night in the fridge when the fish has absorbed all the flavours from the tomato sauce and vegetables. Of course, there are different versions of this dish (probably every cook does it his/her own way). Some people add also parsley root but I think it’s not necessary here. Chopped fresh dill is not obligatory but it makes this dish even more Polish and could be considered as another link with Greece, apart from the name (I have recently learnt from Katerina that dill is very popular in her country too). You can replace it with fresh or frozen parsley, but do not use dried herbs.

Among the ingredients you will see Maggi sauce. Thinking throughout my childhood it was a typical Polish seasoning, I learnt only recently I’m not the only one… In fact, I have met people from very distant parts of the world who were also convinced it was their national invention! According to Wikipedia this sauce was created in XIXth century by a certain Mr. Maggi, a Swiss entrepreneur and is nowadays produced by the Swiss company Nestlรฉ. Needless to say, its worldwide distribution is very successful. Maggi sauce is used by many home Polish cooks (usually looked down at by big chefs though!), but I open it rarely: only when I want some dishes taste just like my mum’s. If you cannot find it, I advise soy sauce instead though the taste is of course different.

TIPS:

The fish can be fried in any way you wish (deep-fried, pan-fried or even grilled) and if you are on a diet you might also poach it or steam it. I think that oil adds a lot to the taste and would never skip it, so I always pan-fry it in small amount of oil.

You can use any fish variety, but in my opinion it’s a perfect way to ennoble any humble, ordinary cheap fish (whiting fillets are excellent here).

It is very important to cover the fish with a very hot carrot mixture (otherwise the flavours will not be well combined).

Do not use dried dill or parsley; only fresh or frozen.

Preparation: about 40 minutes + several hours in the fridge (or even a whole night if possible)

Ingredients (serves 3 as a starter):

200 g / about 7 oz carrots

3 tablespoons oil

1 big onion

250 g/ about 1/2 lb fish fillets (choose cheap fish for this recipe)

2-3 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoon tomato paste

250 – 300 ml/8 – 10 fl oz tomato juice/sauce (natural) + 1 heaped tablespoon concentrated tomato paste

1/2 small celeriac

salt, pepper

3 tablespoons Maggi sauce or soy sauce

fresh or frozen dill (or parsley leaves)

Dry the fillets, season them with salt and pepper. Dust with flour and fry on both sides.

Cover with them the bottom of a serving dish.

Slice the onion.

Grate (on a vegetable grater) the remaining vegetables or julienne them.

Fry all the vegetables in 1 tablespoon oil for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato juice, tomato paste, maggi, salt, pepper and let the vegetables simmer until they are soft (I prefer my vegetables rather crunchy, but feel free to simmer them to you liking).

Cover the fish with the hot vegetable mixture.

Let it cool down and then place in the fridge for several hours (it’s best after one night in the fridge).

Serve sprinkled with fresh dill or parsley.

42 Replies to “Ryba po grecku (Polish Greek-Style Fish with Carrots)”

  1. As asian descent, i guess this kinda dish is one of my daily menu except the addition of dill weed,
    we used too add some chilli and dash of vinegar too to the sauce to make it hot, sour and spicy

    1. Thank you so much, Marilyn. I grated the carrots and the celeriac with julienne peeler (a very small tool similar to a horizontal potato peel). Very useful! Unfortunately I don’t see any substitution…. You might maybe try using julienned celery, though I have no idea what amounts. Please let me know if you have tried it with celery or other vegetables. I am very curious how it works!

      1. I will try it with celery!! I will certainly let you know.

        I made potato crusted fish yesterday, everything was great, but not so the presentation as I layered too much potato and also fried the three pieces together in the same pan. I will try to bake it next time
        Have you made potato crusted fish?

  2. I thought at first they were noodles but of course I’m wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚ What a lovely color of the dish and I love maggi sauce. My mom has that sauce in the kitchen all the time when I was growing up. Have a good weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you so much, Ray. Carrot noodles I guess ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m really amazed at the popularity of Maggi sauce!

  3. Very nice recipe, never tried this but I think I will do on Sunday. I have some ‘flavourless boring’ fish in the freezer that will benefit from some flavouring. Theres no maggi here but I think I will survive:)
    Have a nice weekend

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. Maggi is obligatory only to those who want to reproduce their childhood memories… I hope you will like it and that it will improve your fish (use soy sauce instead).

          1. Are you guessing ryba po grecku? If yes then you are completely wrong. I am having vegetarian:)
            But I will prepare this tonight for lunch tomorrow. If it does not turn out well, you will hear from me…:)

  4. My dear friend Sissi, how I admire your eloquent descriptions, they really make me WANT to try your dishes. This dish is beautiful with its colour and flavours. And I totally believe you that it is better the following day. I’m afraid I will have to use the Soy sauce substitute because I refuse to use products that contain MSG and my research has shown that the Maggi sauce does indeed contain it. It’s a shame that companies cannot make a decent sauce without it; I suspect it’s totally a cost issue, but so many people are allergic to it that I’m surprised to see so many things on shelf with it!

    1. Eva, thank you so much for such kind words. I’m so flattered! If you knew how sometimes writing in English can be frustrating for me…
      Of course, soy sauce is a great idea, especially since Maggi doesn’t bring you any childhood memories like it does to me. I guess everyone has different food rules/philosophy. I don’t mind MSG occasionally, but am disgusted by antibiotics-stuffed eggs or meat.

  5. Although I’m not a fan of cold fish dishes, the combination of ingredients sounds interesting and combining Greek and Polish cuisine is unique. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks a lot, A_Boleyn. (Not sure if it really has Greek origins though… in spite of the name).

  6. With a few variations this is virtually a very common cold ‘party’ dish in all of NE Europe. However much I might use various soy sauces in my own kitchen [and I can think of about five different ones which would always be ther ๐Ÿ™‚ !] I personally would find it strange to use it in the preparation ~ on the other hand some acidity, i feel, is definitely needed! To each their own!!!!!!

    1. Hi, Eha. I had no idea it was common in other European countries! Incredible! I use soy sauce in lots of dishes (Italian, Hungarian, Polish… and I must admit it is often a secret but surprisingly good taste improvement).

  7. When I saw the title, I kept looking for the fish. What an interesting dish. I like the idea of topping the fried fish with the vegetables. That would definitely result in a melding of flavors. What an unusual and absolutely beautiful dish. Great job Sissi! I agree that Katerina is quite an inspiration!

    1. Haha! The fish is well hidden ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am not very good at food presentation ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you so much for kind compliments. I’m glad you are also Katerina’s fan.

  8. Hi Sissi, thank you for understanding my situation…and to top it off, when I started to comment back on Friday, my monitor finally gave out..broke down, had to rush off to buy a new and much larger screen, which is amazing, sharp, and so clear. Now, I’m just working on to set up my regular programs on it.

    Your Greek/Polish dish is incredible, healthy colorful and so delicious with the fall carrots and celeriac. The addition of the tomato sauce seasoned with Maggi sauce gives it a rich flavor. I’ve used Maggi products for years, and had great success with them. Love their boullion cubes for the chicken. Like Eva, my daughter cannot have MSG in any products; it gives her a tremendous headache…she suffers from migranes, so when I use Maggi I make sure that I don’t share the dish with her!

    1. Hi, Elisabeth. Thank you so much for the compliments. I have never used Maggi stock cubes but the sauce is a very unique seasoning. Nothing can copy its taste.
      I’m glad you have a new screen! Every cloud has a silver lining ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. “…an aromatic and flavoursome red-orange duvet” beautifully poetic ;-). Well, leave it to you Sissi to enchant us by transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary with this gorgeous looking dish. Far from finding it boring, I am completely intrigued by the mixture of carrot, onion and celeriac covering the fish and it also feels reminiscent of fall and orange season generally… love that seasonal feel. I know what you mean about how otherwise ordinary ingredients can come together and create magic in a recipe. Wonderful!

  10. Maggie sauce…. not sure if I know it. I know there is a maggie herb that we use in our cooking. It grows in my mums garden and it’s popular in our mountain area. I always thought that maggie cubes were called after that herb, haha! I don’t know anything about Polish cooking. My Ukrainian friend made something similar a few years back but I have no idea what it was called. Looks fantastic Sissi!

    1. Thank you, Helene. I think it’s the other way round! Actually probably the herb you talk about is “lovage” (livรจche in French) and it has started to be called (according to Wikipedia) Maggi herb because of the Maggi sauce! Even though Maggi sauce doesn’t contain it! Incredible isn’t it?

  11. With the exception of sushi and sashimi, I usually don’t eat any cold fish dishes. But this dish sounds very flavorful. And I love the flavor combination. I so want to try this!

    1. Thanks a lot, Gomo. I also think it’s quite original (especially among the rather heavy Polish dishes).

  12. Don’t think I’ve ever tried a Ryba po grecku before. But I love the ingredients in it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope I’ll have a chance to give this a try…or to make some myself. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks a lot, Amy. If you have no Polish friends/neighbours, there is almost no chance you would taste this dish I guess ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s very easy to prepare though and in my opinion one of the best ways to spice up bland cheap fish.

  13. Hehee I was looking for fish and hoping there is a head! LOL. This is brand new dish to me, although ingredients seem familiar (but never heard of Maggi sauce. Am I missing out?). Lots of carrots and I thought this is a new way to eat fish. I never had fish with this many carrots. How healthy and flavorful is that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks delicious, Sissi!

    1. Haha! The fish is well hidden ๐Ÿ˜‰ The idea here reminds me a bit of nanban zuke (though here the dish is not sour). The fish is fried and then takes the flavours from the marinade. Maggi sauce is a commercial sauce, very popular in many countries all around the world (it’s funny that once someone from Asia told me she thought it was her “national” invention while I thought it was a typical Polish product ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you so much for the compliments.

  14. Hello my friend and thank you again for all the kind words you always say about me. Indeed this dish has many things in common with a Greek one called Fish Plaki and you can find the recipe in my blog! I will certainly try this and I am saving the recipe. I don’t know if I will enjoy it cold, as I love my food so hot that my tongue is burnt sometimes, but I will certainly eat it strait from the pan! Thanks again so much!

    1. Hi, Katerina. I have only told the truth about you! I’m not sure if you would like it, but I thought it was a funny idea to post a Polish recipe which is called “Greek” ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m so surprised there is actually a similar dish in Greece (Poles often joke about this dish as bearing a “false” name!). Thank you for confirming its origins. I must check your recipe soon! (Apparently there are treasures I have missed on your blog). In Poland some people like it warm. I prefer it cold.

Comments are closed.