April is here to stay and we are in the middle of the Orthodox Lent -Sarakosti-.
Sarakosti is also an important fasting period for Christians. It is an important part of the religion but also an important part of Greece’s folklore history and tradition. It mainly includes the fasting of meat, fish and animal byproducts. It starts with Clean Monday, and ends on Holy Saturday.
There are some fasting foods enjoyed throughout this period, such as taramasalata, horta (greens), grilled seafood, traditional lagana bread, black eyed peas, giant beans in tomato sauce and many more. On Shrove Monday, the table contains many of them and even more!
Here are a few of some delicious appetizers and dishes that we traditionally consume during Sarakosti.
Lagana as we described above, is the staple bread of this period! Here in Greece every bakery is preparing lagana these days. Lagana is a flat bread with sesame seeds. Many try to bake it at home, with exciting results!
If you want to try this style bread at home, give a look at this recipe:
Its basic ingredient is taramas, which is carp’s or other fish’ eggs. The preserved fish roe is mixed with olive oil, dry bread, onion and lemon juice until the result is creamy. The taste of this dip is irresistible. You have to try it at least once! It’s not typical in its ingredients, but the taste result will compensate you. Here in Greece, we consume it mostly in the feast of the orthodox Pasha.
Below you will find the recipe for the Greek traditional Halva, which is made with semolina.
1 cup olive oil
2 cups coarse semolina
3 cups sugar
4 cups water
Heat the olive oil in the pot, and add the semolina. Slowly roast the semolina, constantly stirring. When it has a darker richer color, add the sugar and water. Be careful, big hot blisters of halva are going to pop, so use an oven glove and protect your hands. Stir constantly over low fire until the mixture is detached from the pot. Add ½ spoon cinnamon, some pine nuts, almonds and raisins and give it a few more stirs. Pour the mixture in a form and let it cool.
Chick peas Patties
One day before we put the chickpeas in water to swell. Next, thoroughly dry chickpeas and mash a few in food processor. Then chop (by hand rather than in a food processor) other materials, add the chickpeas and mix well. Allow the mixture to rest for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
In a deep frying pan put some olive oil and place over medium heat. Shape small balls with the mixture, roll them in flour and fry until they are golden. If you want, accompany the dish with slices of lemon and tahini sauce.
2 cups chickpeas
2 large onions
3-4 spring onions
1 bunch dill
1 bunch mint
1 bunch parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
Do you know other interesting recipes? Share with us!
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