Its officially winter and the coldest time of the year is upon us. Which makes this the perfect season for hearty and nutritious comfort food to keep us warm from the inside out!
One classic traditional Cypriot dish that ticks all these boxes is Trahanas – an ancient thick and creamy soup, that dates back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest traditional meals in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Originally conceived as a way of preserving left-over milk, Trahanas is made of cracked wheat (or other cereal grains such as bulgur), soaked in fermented milk or yogurt and then left out to dry in the summer sun.
The result is a highly nutritious, long-lasting dry food that is easy to store and use when the weather cools. In fact, Trahanas has become an iconic winter dish, cooked around the region and often used as a remedy to fight off colds and flus.
Low in fat, but rich in carbohydrates, protein, fibre and lactobacilli probiotics, Trahanas provides sustained energy over long periods, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, while also maintaining low cholesterol levels and promoting good gut, digestive and intestinal health.
The wholesome dish is also a great source of Vitamins A, B1 and B2 (riboflavin), as well as magnesium, iron, phosphorus calcium and carotenoids. This means Trahanas comes with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, and can improve brain and heart health, while also being great for the skin and eyes.
Once a simple dish, today Trahanas often takes on a more gourmet twist. So, to spice up the traditional recipe, here is Prinos’ Trahanoto – a unique way of making risotto, but with hearty Trahanas instead of rice, for a healthy, filling meal that the whole family will enjoy.
- 200g of white button mushrooms
- 250g of Pleurotus mushrooms
- 200g shiitake mushrooms
- 300g sour Trahanas
- 2 white onions
- Half a clove of garlic
- 1 glass of white wine
- 4 cups hot water
- 200g of grated feta cheese
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Truffle butter
- In a bowl, add the Trahanas and two cups of hot water, then cover with a cloth and set aside for ten minutes.
- Heat the olive oil in a deep pan before adding the chopped onions and frying on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until they are sweet and soft.
- Meanwhile, add the coarsely chopped mushrooms and mix well until they begin to wither.
- Next, add in the white wine and leave for 2-3 minutes until the alcohol evaporates.
- Now add the Trahanas and water mixture, stir and let simmer for 5-6 minutes with the lid on.
- Once your Trahanoto is ready, add the grated feta and a teaspoon of truffle butter to elevate the recipe and bring out the flavours.
- Serve with plenty of freshly ground pepper to taste.
PRINOS TIP: Chop halloumi into small cubes. Marinate with lemon zest, lemon juice and thyme, and then fry in hot oil to make small cheese croutons to add to your Trahanoto as a garnish. The crunchy texture always makes any dish more interesting.