Any kid with ties to a Greek village grew up enjoying a quick, filling and nutritious dinner of trahana. Soft, comforting and flavorful, a bowl of trahana is also protein-rich, as it's made with a copious quantity of dairy. It's the dairy that gives it its distinctive tang that differentiates it from typical pasta. The distinction between sweet and sour trahana is not that literal; sour trahana is made with yogurt, or fermented milk and sweet is made with regular milk.
In every village, near the end of summer, women would 'spread trahana': mix wheat with milk or yogurt and let it air-dry in the breezy heat of August. Depending on the region some would use cracked wheat, or semolina; add different spices, like bukovo, or vegetable pulp. Nowadays fewer home cooks make their own trahana, but thanks to producers like Adamantina House, our supplier of traditional Greek pasta and cookies, lovers of trahana can easily enjoy this ancient comfort food that can be ready to eat in minutes.
Making trahana in the Adamantina House facilities in Glykovrisi, Laconia
Trahana, in its countless versions, can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans and the gruel that used to feed foot soldiers during their conquests. And while you won't find trahana in the menu of most traditional Greek restaurants, modern Greek chefs have rediscovered trahana and have been using it in their menus in all kinds of creative, delicious ways!
Trahana is usually cooked as a soup and its thickness will vary depending on the cooking time, but it's also incredibly versatile. You can add it in stews, cook with vegetables, with broth or tomato sauce, spice it up, add aromatic herbs; the possibilities are endless! Just keep in mind that it is highly absorbent and will keep sponging up liquid as it cooks. It also needs frequent stirring so that it doesn't stick to the pan. If it does, no reason to panic - just scrape with a wooden spoon and mix well. Just don't forget about it and let it brown too much in the bottom!
You can also cook it risotto-style, sautéing the grains in olive oil or butter with some onion, and/or other veggies, adding broth and stirring continuously until it reaches the desired consistency.
Here's an easy way to cook trahana. Consider it as a very basic template on which you can add on and experiment in countless ways!
Easy Trahana and Tomato Soup
1 cup Adamantina Traditional Trahana - Sour, Sweet, or Spicy
2-3 tbs Phileos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, smashed
2 tbs tomato paste
4 cups of water (or more)
Salt, pepper to taste
Feta cheese, or Greek yogurt to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the garlic clove. Cook gently for about a minute, then add the tomato paste and mix into the olive oil, letting it caramelize and release its flavors.
- Add the water and trahana and stir. Lower the heat when it's bubbling and stir frequently to keep the trahana from sticking on the bottom of the pot. Add salt, pepper or other herbs/spices according to taste, unless if using the Spicy Trahana which comes with a flavor profile!
- In about 10 minutes the trahana grains will have puffed up and soften. You can keep cooking and stirring if you want a thicker soup, or add more liquid, or even broth if you like it thinner.
- Serve with crumbled feta cheese, or a dollop of Greek yogurt.