Greek cuisine grew out of traditions that developed during the time of Ancient Greece. Locals eat a lot of fresh vegetables, fish and seafood, meat, cheese. Popular are fried squid, souvlaki, moussaka, saganaki. Dishes are seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, herbs. With delicious food, traditional drinks of ouzo, raki, metaxa are well combined.
Characteristics of the national Greek cuisine
The peculiarity of this cuisine is local products: fresh vegetables and fruits, cheeses, herbs, marine animals and plants. Greeks adhere to Mediterranean culinary traditions, so they take a lot of herbs and olive oil for cooking. They add mint, oregano, thyme, basil, nutmeg, thyme, cloves.
Greek cuisine is one of the oldest cuisines in the world.
Vegetable and meat soups are popular, for example, inasto with beef or auglemono with rice. For the main dishes use meat, seafood, fish. They are served with different sauces from natural yogurt with the addition of garlic, lemon juice, herbs. Greek cuisine is famous for its delicious desserts (baklava, loukoumades, halvas, kurabyedes).
Local food, despite the simplicity, turns out to be useful. The diet of the Greeks contains the necessary omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals.
Food is light, does not cause an increase in sugar and cholesterol in the blood. Such nutrition reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal and liver diseases.
The culinary traditions of the country began to form more than 4 thousand years ago, back to the times of Ancient Greece. In the V century BC. e. the Greeks learned to bake bread of coarse grinding. They ate a lot of fish and seafood. In the highlands, they ate goat and lamb. With the arrival of the Byzantines, Italian dishes spread in Greece. Thanks to the Turks, who ruled the territory from the XVI to the XIX century, the Greeks had many desserts. Despite modern kitchen sets and their technological equipment, locals prefer to cook simple dishes according to old recipes.
Cooking methods in Greece
The Greeks stew, fry, bake, boil the products. Preference is given to baking: it helps to preserve the beneficial properties. Popular dishes are pastitsio, moussaka, baked calamari. Meat, fish or seafood is grilled.
Main Products and Ingredients
Local cuisine is impossible to imagine without olive oil. In Greece, dishes from mackerel, sea bass, dorada, shrimp, squid, octopus are common. An important place in the diet is occupied by yogurts, cheeses. For soups and stews, vegetables (eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes) and beans are used. Food is seasoned with different herbs (fennel, basil, thyme, mint, oregano, thyme). Floral honey is added to many desserts.
Greeks prefer simple meat food. Small kebabs, casseroles with minced meat and pasta or vegetables, stewed beef are popular.
In greek casserole, eggplant, minced meat in tomato sauce and potatoes are laid out in layers. Each layer is poured with béchamel sauce, sprinkled with kefalotiri cheese. Moussaka is sent to the oven at a temperature of 200 ° C for 45-50 minutes, until it acquires a golden crust.
Small kebabs in Greece are made from lamb, pork, chicken. Meat is marinated in a mixture of vegetable oil, lemon juice, black pepper, salt, oregano. Strung on wooden skewers and fried on coals. This common street food is served with a slice of lemon and white bread. Sometimes souvlaki is put into pita, adding tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions and sauce to the bun.
The Greek pasta casserole comes from the Italian dish timballo. The bottom layer is tubular pasta with egg and cheese. Pork, beef or lamb are laid out on them. The meat is stewed with tomatoes, onions, garlic, nutmeg and black pepper. Top with the remaining pasta, pour béchamel sauce. At the end, sprinkle with grated cheese. Pastitsio is baked at a temperature of 180 ° C until a ruddy crust appears.
These are pieces of lamb that are cooked in the oven with onions, tomatoes and sweet peppers. The meat is pre-marinated for 4-6 hours in vegetable oil with lemon juice, salt, black pepper. Kleftiko is baked for 2.5-3 hours at a temperature of 160 ° C.
Stewed beef in onion sauce is cooked in winter. Meat (1 kg) is fried, then onions are added to the container. The peculiarity of the styfado is a large number of small bulbs (up to 1 kg). They are sprinkled with seasonings (cinnamon, dried rosemary, bay leaf), salt, pepper. Then pour 100 ml of red wine and cover with a lid. After 2-3 minutes, the meat is laid out, stewed for 60 minutes.
Fish and seafood dishes
Favorite products of local residents are sea bass, dorada, shrimp, squid, octopus. Trout, sturgeon, salmon are a common food in the central part of the country.
Greek cuisine has many dishes made from seafood.
Favorite dishes include:
- psarosupa – a soup based on different varieties of fish (pagra, red snapper, sea bream or perch) and vegetables;
- calamaracya – batter-fried squid;
- stewed shrimp in tomato and cheese sauce;
- media ahnista – steamed mussels with cheese sauce;
- chtapodi scharas – boiled in vinegar or fried on coals tentacles of octopus;
- cuttlefish stewed with spinach;
- poop is a greek ear.
The best dish of Greek cuisine is recognized as a lobster with pasta. A local delicacy is maridaki – fried smelt, hamsa or sultanka, which is served with ouzo.
Greeks eat grilled mackerel, crucian carp, mustelid shark fillet, swordfish, cod.
The first dishes are prepared on the basis of meat, fish or vegetable broths. The favorite national food is considered to be ukha kakavya, legume soups (fasolada and fakes) or avgolemono with the addition of lemon-egg mixture.
This is a thick bean soup with vegetables, which is eaten during the fast before Easter. This simple and hearty dish is made from white beans, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers. Fasolada is seasoned with butter, thyme, oregano, black pepper. The soup is cooked for about 30 minutes.
The main ingredients are lemons and eggs, beaten into a homogeneous mass. It is added in small portions to a pan, where rice is boiled in meat broth. Be sure to make sure that the soup does not boil. Avgolemono is made in vegetable or fish broth. Depending on the amount of egg-lemon mixture, it can be liquid or thick.
In a saucepan for about 10 minutes, boil 180 g of lentils, then salt. Sliced carrots are fried with garlic, sage, coriander and onions. Vegetable broth (250 ml) is poured into the beans, tomato paste and part of the vegetables are added. The soup is cooked for 25-30 minutes over medium heat, 5 minutes before removal from the stove, pour the remaining vegetable mass.
It is a traditional Greek ear. According to the classic recipe, pieces of fish are fried with onions. It is poured with water, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Poop is stewed for 30 minutes on low heat, at the end sprinkled with lemon juice. In modern soup add shrimp, vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, celery, carrots), spices.
Kakavya is a traditional ear for the Greeks.
Locals prepare many salads with herbs, herbs, cheese and vegetables. In addition to greek salad, taverns serve dishes called dakos, horta, angurodomata.
It’s a wild grass salad. The most popular ingredient is dandelion leaves. Less often other plants are used: staraks, meljocolla, lavaraks. To eliminate bitterness, the leaves are soaked in cold salted water for half an hour. They are boiled in salted boiling water for 5-10 minutes, then mixed and boiled as much. The grass is laid out on a plate with chicory, poured with oil and lemon juice.
It is made from finely chopped tomatoes, feta cheese or misifra. Add oregano and basil, season with oil.
Dakos is served on dried pieces of bread or small dakakya breadcrumbs, which are slightly soaked in water.
The dish is called a vegetarian version of the Greek salad. It contains fresh vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions or red onions), but cheese is not added. Oil is used for dressing.
In some regions of the country, arugula salad is prepared. To it are added coarsely chopped tomatoes and thin plates of Parmesan cheese. Seasoned with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which gives a piquant taste.
The famous Greek dish is called choriatica by the locals. The peculiarity of the salad is coarsely chopped feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots. Sweet peppers, anchovies and capers are often added. The salad is seasoned with oregano, black pepper, olive oil and salt.
Before the main dishes, a large number of snacks are served on the table: from cheese paste to dolma, which resembles cabbage rolls. Fried calamari and pieces of cheese with seafood became popular.
This is an analogue of cabbage rolls, but instead of cabbage, pickled grape leaves are taken. They are immersed in boiling water for 1-1.5 minutes In the middle of the leaf put boiled rice mixed with fried minced meat, onions, mint, parsley. The filling is sprinkled with spices. The leaf is closed so that a roll is obtained. Dolma is baked at 180 ° C for 40 minutes or stewed for 60 minutes over medium heat. Sometimes it is stuffed with raisins, chestnuts, nuts with herbs.
The composition of the spicy cheese snack includes chili pepper (300 g). It is cut in half, the seeds are removed and boiled for 20 minutes to remove the skin. Add the juice of one lemon, feta (500 g) and antotiro cheese (200 g). The ingredients are mixed in a blender into a homogeneous mass. Then a thin stream of oil (100 ml) is poured, stirred again and gloved. Thyrokafteri is covered with film and sent to the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
The basis of the snack is smoked cod roe. It is mixed with crushed garlic, lemon juice and oil. The dish is served with pita and olives.
Taramasalata and Saganaki are popular Greek dishes.
Translated from Greek, the name of the snack means “small frying pan”. These are pieces of kefalotiri or engraver cheese fried to a brown crust. Sometimes mussels or shrimps are added to it. Saganaki is always served hot and with half a lemon.
A popular dish in Greece is fried calamari. Seafood is cut into rings and salted. They are marinated in lemon juice and ouzo for 1 hour. The pieces are fried in batter, before serving they are poured with lemon juice.
In Greece, there are more than 50 varieties of cheese, since in the regions there are different recipes for the manufacture of the product.
Here they make the famous feta, fibrous kaseri and walnut-flavored engraving.
Light yellow cheese with a percentage of fat content of 40-50% has an oily texture. As it ripens, the taste changes from fruity to nutty. In the north of the country, Crete and the Peloponnese, the product is made from sheep’s milk. The highest quality and rarest is the agraphic engraving, which is made in the northern region of Agrafa. This cheese ripens for about 90 days. The Cretan product is aged for at least 5 months. It tastes like baked caramel. In Naxos and Tinos, cheese is made on the basis of cow’s milk.
It is made in Macedonia, Thessaly, Xanthi and. The raw material is unpasteurized sheep’s milk. The fibrous texture of the cheese is obtained by pulling and kneading the curd mass in hot water. The product is soft, has no shell. The heads ripen for at least 3 months. Kaseri has a pleasant aroma and buttery taste.
Hard cheese is made from sheep’s or cow’s milk. Depending on the raw material, the color varies from white to yellow. It has a salty, spicy taste. In appearance, the product resembles Parmesan, but the structure of kefalotiri is softer. It is kept for at least 90 days.
Local cuisine contains many sauce recipes that are served with meat and fish dishes. The main ingredients are olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, herbs.
In Greek cuisine, there are many recipes for all kinds of sauces.
It is made on the basis of yogurt with garlic and grated fresh cucumber. Butter is poured into the sauce, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Sometimes parsley, mint, dill, lemon juice are added to the zadziki. It is suitable for meat, fish, vegetables, but it can be served as an independent snack.
This is a thick sauce that is made from boiled potatoes and soaked stale bread. The ingredients are kneaded, garlic with salt, chopped nuts, oil are added. Everything is stirred until a homogeneous paste is obtained.
Traditionally, it is served on the feast of the Annunciation with batter-fried cod or hake.
For the sauce, meat, fish or vegetable broth (500 ml) is used. In a container, beat 3 eggs, add the juice of 2 lemons. The mixture is poured into the broth in a thin stream, which is boiled over low heat. The sauce should not boil so that the eggs do not curdle. Augolemono is suitable for pork dishes.
Desserts among the Greeks are sweet due to the use of large amounts of honey or sugar syrup. Some sweets are deep-fried, others are better baked in the oven.
This is a traditional cake that includes 33 layers of filo dough (the age of Christ). For the filling, grinded nuts mixed with spices and fruit syrup are used. Sometimes raisins and sesame are added.
Dessert is like doughnuts. Small balls of yeast dough are deep-fried. Before serving, pour honey, sugar syrup or sprinkle with cinnamon. Luckoumades is eaten with hands or served on skewers.
This is the Greek version of baklava. To prepare sweets, use the filo dough, in which the nut filling with spices is wrapped. On the last sheet of dough, cuts are made in the form of diamonds. Baklavas is baked in the oven for 15 minutes at 200 ° C. The warm product is lubricated with sugar syrup, in which lemons, oranges and spices are added.
In Greece, they love and know how to cook desserts.
The dough is made from flour, semolina, sugar. Orange juice and vegetable oil are poured into the mixture. The formed balls are baked for 15 minutes at a temperature of 180 ° C. Then pour orange syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon, nuts.
Greeks prepare halva based on tahini (sesame paste) or semolina. The main ingredient is mixed with water, olive oil, seeds, crushed nuts, vanilla essence, sugar and spices. Sometimes the composition of a popular dessert includes chocolate and honey.
These are cookies with almonds that are served on the table at Christmas. To give a pleasant aroma, floral water is poured into the dough. Sometimes 2-3 drops of ouzo or metaxes are added to get the original taste. At the end, the balls are decorated with plenty of powdered sugar.
Greeks enjoy drinking hot and cold coffee. National alcoholic beverages are ouzo, metaxa, crayfish. Popular include retsina and mavrodafni wine.
The exact recipe of the famous Greek cognac is kept secret. Elite drink is made from muscatel wine and three grape varieties: “Mavro”, “Sultanina” and “Savvatiano”. It is aged in old oak barrels for at least 3 years. Herbs and rose petals give metax a tart taste.
Metaxa is a Greek cognac, which is known and loved all over the world.
Crayfish and rakimolo
The birthplace of crayfish is Crete. The drink is made on the basis of grapes. Fermented cake produces grape vodka with a strength of 35-40 degrees. If you mix it with cinnamon, cloves and honey, you will get a rakamelo. This drink resembles a balm and is often used as a medicine.
The most popular alcohol in Greece contains 40% alcohol. It is obtained by distillation of alcohol, water, anise. Spices are necessarily added to the liquid: nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon. In the south of Greece, the composition of the drink includes sugar, in the north they prefer to drink strong alcohol. Ouzo turns out to be transparent, it becomes cloudy due to the addition of water or ice.
This is a sweet wine that is made from the grape variety of the same name on the Peloponnese peninsula and the island of Kefalonia. A dark red drink resembles a cahors, it is kept in barrels for at least 8 years.
The strength of Mavrodafni is 15%. The wine has a rich taste with notes of chocolate, spices, caramel, raisins, prunes, coffee.
A unique drink is obtained from several types of white table wine. Its peculiarity is a rich taste of pine resin, which is added to the recin. It contains about 11% alcohol. Because of the exotic taste, this wine is served with dishes with a lot of spices.
A coffee break is an important part of the daily life of Greeks. They prefer to drink three types of drink: Hellinico, Freddo or Frappe. The first is made from finely ground grains. After brewing, it acquires a rich, strong taste. Frappe is a coffee with ice and milk, in which berries and fruits are added. Drinking it is taken through a straw. Freddo appeared recently. A double portion of coffee is poured into a high glass, sugar, milk and a lot of ice are added. Coffee is poured on top again and decorated with whipped milk.
Homemade recipes of Greek cuisine
To prepare a hearty psarosup, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 liter of water;
- 700 g sea bass;
- 2 potatoes, carrots;
- 1 onion;
- 2 eggs;
- 3 lemons ;
- a bunch of parsley.
Cut vegetables into large cubes, put in a saucepan, pour water. When it boils, add sea bass and 1 tbsp. rice. Cook the soup for 20 min. Beat the lemon juice with eggs. Pour the sauce into the broth, without ceasing to stir. Bring to a boil and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
Galatopite cake consists of the following components:
- 1 liter of milk;
- 100 g butter;
- 1 tbsp. semolina;
- 1.5 tbsp. sugar;
- 4 eggs;
Bring milk to a boil, pour sugar, vanilla, semolina in small portions, stirring constantly. When the mixture thickens, remove from heat and put the oil. Add the beaten eggs to the cooled cream. Bake the cake in the oven at 175 ° C for 60 minutes. galatopita is sprinkled with cinnamon.