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Trahanas: Greece’s Healthy Comfort Food Will Warm You Up

Trahanas with onion and croutons. Credit: SophiavsSophia/Twitter

Trahanas is a staple Greek recipe, found in every home — ready in minutes, it is filling, and is full of vitamins.

If you ask any Greek person about the delicious, comforting soup, they will probably be hit with a wave of nostalgia, remembering winter evenings at their grandmother’s house, warming up with a homemade bowl of trahanas.

While its cooking time is relatively quick, the process of making trahanas actually takes months. In order for the delicious soup to reach your bowl on a chilly winter night, the trahanas, made from a mixture of flour and milk or yogurt, must be left to ferment and then dried out during the summer months.

Making trahana by hand. Credit: Twitter/Polligr

Once dried, the trahanas is crushed to form small chunks, ready to be stored for the coming winter. Although some still make their own trahana by hand, it can also be found in all Greek supermarkets.

There are two types of trahana — sweet and sour. Sweet trahanas is made with whole milk, usually from goats, while sour trahanas is made from buttermilk or yogurt, giving it more of a tangy bite.

Extremely filling and rich, yet low in calories and fat, trahanas is the perfect comfort food for those who are health conscious. A bowl of the tasty soup is extremely nourishing, and chock full of protein, vitamin B, magnesium, and iron.

Trahanas keeps you full long after you’ve eaten, providing a large dose of vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy lifestyle.

Trahanas can be made in its simplest form by just boiling the dried, fermented grains in water, milk, or stock; but by adding tomato sauce, spices, vegetables, meat, cheese, and butter to the dish, deeper and more complex flavors can be enjoyed.

Each region of Greece has its own special recipe for the perfect bowl of the hearty dish.

In Cyprus, trahanas is made with bulgur wheat instead of flour, and is cooked with the country’s iconic halloumi cheese.

Trahanas an ancient food found across the Mediterranean

As the unique texture of the soup allows it absorb flavors easily, gourmet chefs in Greece have begun to include the dish, once considered a humble comfort food, in their top-rated menus.

Possibly due to its simple ingredients, great nutritional value, and quick preparation, dishes similar to the Greek comfort food have been found all across the Mediterranean since ancient times.

The dish is traditionally made across not just southern Europe, but North Africa and the Middle East as well.

Its ancient roots probably stem from ancient agrarian lifestyles, as there was always an excess of milk in the summer, when cows produce more.

In order to not waste the milk, ancient peoples discovered this method of preserving the precious commodity, which also left them with a store of food for the winter.

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