ΤΡΑΧΑΝΆΣWhenever Jonas and I find a new grocery store I scour the shelves for ingredients I’ve never seen before. I manage sneak them into the shopping trolley but at the register I’m caught out and barraged with exclamations of “what’s that! what are you going to do with that? will you even use it?”
Unfortunately, or fortunately, Jonas knows I will use it.
Such was the start of my recent affair with trahanas: tiny Greek pasta which came in two mysterious versions, sweet or sour. I opted for sour.
Trahanas is a mixture of cracked wheat that is fermented with yoghurt and then dried and sieved into tiny pellets. Sounds charming, doesn’t it. But trust me it tastes wonderful!
Apparently the fermentation process generates lactic acid which creates its particular sour flavour while low pH levels during drying mean milk proteins aren’t destroyed.
Apart from Greece, it is eaten in Turkey (tarhana), Egypt (kishk) and Iraq (kushuk), while in Cyprus it’s almost a national dish, but in all locations it is usually eaten as a thick soup or as a stuffing.
Traditional Greek and Cypriot recipes seem to call for a rustic, no fuss combination of olive oil, water and feta while a few adventurous folk added parsley or tomatoes.
I wanted to enrich the dish more so I added garlic, tomatoes, white wine and swapped the water for vegetable stock.
It’s perfect comfort food, hearty in body yet light in flavour, and would make a wonderful substitute for noodle soup.
Anna’s very own recipe. 4 as entrée, 2-3 as main course.
1 cup trahanas (sour)
4 cups water (or very good vegetable stock)
¼ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ cup crumbled feta
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in pot then sauté garlic until softened.
2. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to break down.
3. Add wine and cook off alcohol (1 min).
4. Add water/stock and bring mixture to the boil.
5. Add trahanas and cook, as per packet instructions, until tender.
6. When cooked, remove from heat and stir in parsley.
7. Ladle into serving bowls and top with crumbled feta.
Note: if you want a runnier soup consistency, add 1-2 cups water/stock.
You could use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.
Some people peel the tomatoes before cooking.
You may want to add more feta. We did, of course!
This is my contribution to Presto Pasta Night #28, a blogging event I wish I could join more often but work/life somehow get in the way! Well today is a public holiday thanks to the invasion of Sydney by multitudes of world leaders for the APEC summit (ie, George W, Vladimir and Hu Jintao) so I had no excuse!
Tags: morsels and musings food blog food and drink australia recipes main course starter entree soup pasta feta trahanas main course recipes presto pasta night dinner recipes pasta recipes soup recipes trahanas recipes greek recipes greek food greek cuisine