95% of the kids I Know LOVE trahanas. This kid-friendly nutritious fast food, is what we Greek mothers still prepare for dinner, when we don't have the time or mood to cook. Why? Because you have in 15 minutes the most nutritious fast food, recommended by pediatricians especially for our picky-eaters.
Trahanas is a tiny, pebble-shaped grain product made of goats milk (for sweet trahanas), or yogurt (for sour trahanas), mixed into flour or cracked wheat to form a thick mass. Once the ingredients have been combined, they are broken into chunks, dried, and then broken up into smaller, pebbly pieces. Trahanas is always made at the end of the summer when there is enough of a breeze and enough heat to dry the morsels quickly, but also because the summer is a time, when there is an excess of milk. Making trahanas evolved for our ancestors as an ingenious way to preserve milk.
Nowadays you can find trahanas not only in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, but everywhere in the market. The regional artisan producers, mainly women’s cooperatives, have stepped in to fill the demand, and thanks to them the tradition is surviving.
My mother in law still makes trahanas on her own. Yes it takes a lot of time, but she feels that she is preparing a gift for her grandchildren’s health. Her secret of making good trahanas is to find the best quality wheat flour and fresh goats milk. This is what she did 3 months ago:
The easy way to cook trahanas is to turn it into porridge and serve it with yogurt or feta. The pebbly grains exude their tart milkiness as they disintegrate in the pot. In Epirus, my father’s homeland, home cooks prepare sour trahanas with sausages, lamb, and goat and add it to savory pies. In Crete, they add it in vegetable stews matched with eggplants, beans and greens. Or someone can use trahanas to replace the breadcrumbs you add to your meatballs or pies, to help keep the mixture together. Finally, it is true that high-end chefs put this “humble” product on their menus.
In any case if you visit Greece, don’t forget to buy fresh trahanas for your kids but also as a gift to your friends back home.