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trachanas

τραχανάς

Frumenty. Once a dish similar to porridge popular throughout Western Europe in the Middle Ages, but these days hard to find outside of Greece, Cyprus or Turkey. Often transliterated as 'trahanas'.

Trachanas is cracked wheat (bulgur) preserved with milk or yogurt: used in various soups (τραχανόσουπα trachanas soup, made with chicken broth, lemon and diced haloumi is the national dish of Cyprus). Other versions use milk, browned butter and feta.

Making Trahanas

Trachanas was traditionally made during the first two weeks of August, when people used to fast before the big 15 August Assumption of the Virgin holiday. Rather than see the milk produced then go to waste, it was boiled and soured (with lemon and yogurt). Cracked wheat was added to make a paste, which was sun-dried and then broken into small pieces to preserve for the rest of the year. There are sweet (made with sheep's or goat's milk and sometimes butter) or sour versions (made with yogurt).

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by dana facaros, George M. Groutas, pd art