I live in a country where it resides among three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa and co-exist amongst many countries where are influenced by the Mediterranean cuisine, the middle eastern cuisine, Turkish and the Greek kitchen and is infused and inspired by so many aromas, tastes and traditions.
Being nothing but a passionate “modest” Greek Cypriot with a Mediterranean temperament, I can assure you that in this part of the planet, all the pre-mentioned continents and countries are “arguing” between them, which national food its their own national food. For example the Greek coffee, In Greece is Greek, in Cyprus is Cypriot and in Turkey is Turkish coffee. (!!)
Same goes for all sort of other national food and same goes for Trahana.
Trahana in Greece is produced in Icaria Island where people are suppose to live over 100 because of Trahana and the herbs they produce, in Persia, Bosnia, Armenia, Egypt and Turkey, Trahana is nothing but their own traditional soup.
And I, I can guarantee you that “Trahana” is Cypriot and is indeed our traditional soup served with our own traditional cheese, “halloumi”..!!!
“In Cyprus, it is considered a national specialty, and is often served with pieces of haloumi cheese in it…” wikipedia
Tarhana is made with cracked wheat and fresh goat’s milk that has soured and it was like yesterday my grandmother was telling me that in the villages, the old times, the procedure of creating Trahanas, was to mould the cracked wheat into little shapeless pieces (about 2x5cm) and then lay piece by piece in to huge, shallow traditionally made basket called “tsetsos” and leave them on the terrace of the house under the sun for a few days until they dry!!
The fermentation produces lactic acid and other compounds giving tarhana its characteristic sour taste and good keeping properties while the wheat is full of fibers where it lowers the cholesterol and keeps our heart safe!
Tarhana is cooked as a thick soup by adding the crushed pieces into to boiling chicken broth (produced by cooked chicken and not chicken stock). Before we add the trahana in the boiling broth we first allowed it to rest in fresh cold milk for 3-4 hours. It is a relatively easy recipe and incredibly tasty and trahana was included in Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook, “Everyday super food” as a long lived supplement. Internationally you can find trahana in local Greek and Cyprus stores and in Amazon but I am not 100% sure if you can find them in big supermarkets.
My version of the soup is definitely the Cypriot one but with a little twist, since I first grilled the halloumi cheese and then added it to the soup and also I have added “loukanika” – that is any type of your favorite sausages! Hope you really enjoy it and also enjoy making this traditional Cypriot soup..!
- 1 free-range chicken, with skin
- Drinking water, for the boil
- 500g of Trahana
- 1L of cold milk,
- 1 packet of Halloumi cheese, cut in cubes
- Any type of sausage (optional)
- Serves 6
- Crack the Trahana into small pieces. In a big glass deep bowl pour the milk and add the shredded Trahana. Allow to rest there for 3-5 hours.
- In the meantime, ash the chicken well and boil very well. I usually boil for 1,5 hours.
- Remove the chicken and use a tiny colander to sieve the broth into a new casserole. Boil well and by using a soup spoon transfer the Trhana in the casserole. After 5 hours the dry Trahana has absorbed the milk and become a muddy mixture.
- Cook for about 40 minutes. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
- In the meantime, grill in the oven the pieces of halloumi cheese and the slices of the sausage.
- Add to the soup and serve.
- TIPS: In Cyprus we add the pieces of halloumi in the soup while is cooking and not grilled afterward. This is indeed much more tasty and more traditional. We don’t add sausage, instead we add pieces of the boiling chicken and pieces of Cyprus bread.