Trahanas, almost like pasta

trahanas @eatyourselfgreek

Winter has kicked in for good and Siberian winds are sweeping Athens and Northern Greece is covered with snow. It’s cold, the kind of cold that penetrates all layers of clothing and leaves you numb. Only a hearty and quick soup can fix this, so trahanas it is.

Head straight to the recipe

trahanas @eatyourselfgreek

What is trahanas? Certainly not a delicacy to be found in a restaurant’s menu. Trahanas is a homely and humble dish, quick to prepare and perfect for cold weather. It is an ancient preparation, shared amongst many eastern Mediterranean countries and the Middle East. In my mind, trahanas is a forerunner to pasta.

trahanas @eatyourselfgreek

In Greece, trahanas is traditionally prepared during the summer: a mix of cracked wheat and yoghurt or sour milk is boiled to thicken and make a runny dough; the mix is shaped into smaller pieces, spread over large sheets and dried under the summer sun. The little ‘cakes’ of trahanas are passed through sieves in order to be broken in tiny pieces and stored in cotton bags or glass jars for use throughout winter.

trahanas @eatyourselfgreek

There are two qualities, ‘sweet’ trahanas, a preparation of fresh goat/sheep milk and cracked wheat and ‘sour’ trahanas, made of cracked wheat and sour milk. Then there is shape, you get different types depending on how rough or refined the pieces of the dried trahanas are broken down to. I have to admit I have never made my own trahana, but very often enjoyed the homemade preparation. It is coming back to fashion too. Excellent quality trahanas made by small artisans and co-ops is hitting supermarket shelves. The humble product has been revamped too. Instead of being a rustic porridge, trahanas is used the way you make risotto, giving birth to a modern dish: trahanoto! Extremely happy about this, I confess.

But let’s see how you can enjoy trahana. The traditional way, of course, is soup. There are two basic recipes, one with milk and one with tomato.  I’m more inclined towards the tomato one, but don’t let this hinder you.


Here is what you will need:

Ingredients for the tomato version

  • 150 gr of ‘sour’ trahanas
  • 1 lt vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • 1 large tomato
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 150gr of feta cheese, for topping
  • a bit of bread, butter and dried mint for croutons

trahanas @eatyourselfgreekOr – for the dairy version

  • 150 gr of ‘sweet’ trahanas
  • 500 ml milk
  • 400 ml of water
  • 250 gr of feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • a bit of bread, butter and dried mint for croutons

trahanas @eatyourselfgreek

What to do:

  • Add the vegetable stock and olive oil in a pot and mix in the trahana, making sure it is well combined
  • Bring to the boil and add in the fresh tomato, grated, the tomato paste and season.
  • Lower the heat and keep on stirring.
  • It is ready once thickened, approximately 15-20 minutes

baguette ready for croutonsMeanwhile, you can make your croutons

  1. Heat up a frying pan, melt a knob of butter and a bit of dried mint.
  2. Add in bread cubes or chunky sticks and cook until golden

trahanas @eatyourselfgreek

Similarly for the dairy version of trahanas

  1. In a large pot, add the milk, water and butter and bring to the boil.
  2. Add in the trahana, a bit of salt and keep on stirring on medium heat.
  3. It will thicken within 15 minutes, add the crumbled feta in just before serving.

trahanas @eatyourselfgreek

I hope you enjoy!

from Athens with love

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4 thoughts on “Trahanas, almost like pasta

  1. Frankie Beane says:

    Looks delicious. I didn’t realize that Athens got really cold. I knew about the snow in northern Greece–I read a couple of mystery stories set in Greece. The trahanoto made me laugh. Fusion food.

    • Eugenia says:

      When everybody whinges it is not cold enough, here comes the frosty weather. Athens is in a basin that looks down to the sea, all the surrounding mountain picks to the north have snow! As for trahanoto, is a great fusion! The length of stretches marketing can go to revamp a product… It’s nice to see it prominent on the shelves at least. What stories did you read?

    • Eugenia says:

      It’s an amasing preparation – to make trahana though – you need to have really dry weather – it’s a little bit like porridge too. Let me know if you need any tips for the initial preparation 🙂

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