Trahana Soup: There are different ways of making Trahana, it’s a dish that is passed from generation to generation. I am going to describe two ways but there are more, for example some people like to add tomato to it but as much as I like tomatoes I do not like them in Trahana. Trahana is made locally in Cyprus villages, mostly by the ladies that make the traditional haloumi cheese. We have a lady who makes this in Kalavasos over a wood fire. We will soon be adding a page on Traditional Haloumi making and you will see how she works. We often take our visitors up the hill to her shack to see how it’s done. It may be a shack next to her goats but it’s spotlessly clean. Trahana is made with soured milk, crushed wheat, lemon juice and yogurt. The milk, normally goats milk, is prepared by pouring into a large container or churn and leaving it to turn sour and turning it into a clean churn every day for 8 days. On the 8th day, it is put on to boil with wheat, lemon juice and yogurt. Then it is allowed to set and cool, at which time it is shaped, spread onto long trestle tables on a sheet and left in the sun to dry. The number of days depends on how hot the sun is. The shape of the trahana again is a tradition passed down through the family, depending on which part of Cyprus you are from. Some people will shape it like a cigar, others will make it into a ball and cut that up into strips others will cut it into squares; basically it looks like a biscuit. Here is how you make the soup: You can use similar ingredients in both types; Haloumi cheese for the vegetarian dish and meat or chicken broth with or without meat for the other. The method is the same for both types of soup it’s just the ingredients that differ. Ingredients: 1) Juice of one boiled chicken or boiled meat, any meat will do. We normally boil the chicken or meat leave it to one side then eat it as an accompaniment to the soup, or we just pop the trahana into the boiling chicken or meat and cook it that way. Go to step 2 For the vegetarian option just go straight to step 2 using a vegetable stock cube if you wish. Some people just prefer it plain. 2) Trahana to taste, be very careful not to use too much trahana as it will be too thick, about 250-300g should be enough. Try it then if you see that its not the desired consistency then add more trahana next time, if its too thick just add more water. 3) Optional diced haloumi cheese to taste. As much or as little as you like. If you are making this dish with meat then haloumi is not necessary. 4) Salt and pepper to taste. 5) Lemon juice and or yogurt to thicken. Could also add an egg for thickening if you wish.
Method: Soak the trahana till it opens up, if you don’t have time just soak for 15 – 30 mins.
Put the trahana into the boiling meat, juice or water. If you are using haloumi, then put the haloumi in at this point. Bring to the boil then simmer for at least an hour till the trahana is well blended. If you wish to thicken with yogurt, just take some of the hot soup, add a little cold water and whisk some yogurt into it. You could also add an egg at this point it you wish. Then pour back into the rest of the soup. You can also add lemon juice at this point, the best way to do this is add juice of ½ a lemon, taste it and only add more if you wish, this is a matter or taste. Now bring the soup to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for a little longer. The soup is ready to serve. You can have it piping hot or even cool, whatever you prefer. This soup gets better each time you heat it up so its good to make extra and serve it again the next day. I’ve also tried freezing some and that works OK but its better to eat it fresh. The only reason to freeze it is if you have made too much; which could easily happen if you add too much trahana by mistake.