RED BULGUR WHEAT WITH SOUR CREAM AND POTATOES
When we say in Cretan ‘trahana’ we mean sour cream bulgur wheat. It took me many years to realize that in the rest of Greece trahana does not mean the same thing as it does to us. Sheep or goat's milk that we let go sour gives it this special flavor. Then it’s boiled with coarse bulgur wheat (broken wheat) and dried in the summer months in the sun.
This sourdough is never missing from a Cretan house. We love it! It's in our DNA so there are plenty of recipes.
I remember when I was a girl in the village from July to August all the neighborhoods smelled of baking sourdough. In the courtyards, on the terraces, you could see nothing but sprawling trays on boards and plastic tables, covered with net.
My late grandmother always made the trahana with her mother-in-law. My grandfather had goats and let the milk go sour in buckets. My grandmother ground the wheat in a hand mill and my grandmother put the big pot on the burner and started boiling the milk. Oh my pleasure to be involved in the whole process! On the one hand, I would run to the porch to grab the wooden stick with which I turned the large round stone by hand, and on the other, to sit over the pot stirring the milk. "Nectaria, when the ladle can stand up in the middle of the pot, then the trahana is ready," said my grandmother. We let it cool down a little and then we spread it out on a tray to cool well. We kept it safe and ate it cold. Once I ate so much and I had such stomach ache that I couldn't sleep all night!
Now that my grandmothers are gone, we continue to make the trahana or sourdough at home with my mother. Just now we replaced grandfather's goat's milk with sheep’s milk given by a cousin who’s a shepherd and the process of the hand grinder with ready-made bulgur wheat. But the conversations with and tips from my grandmothers are there for us to reminisce about.
100g sour cream
50ml olive oil
2 onions dry
2 ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt & pepper
In a saucepan, place the olive oil and allow to warm. Add the onions sliced whole so you get circles of onions and sauté. Add the potatoes and continue sautéing for a while.
Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste and stir. Add 300ml of warm water and salt. Allow to boil and toss.
Reduce the temperature to half and leave until the sourdough is cooked, if necessary add a little warm water. Remove from the heat and season with fresh pepper, cover with a towel and leave for 10 minutes before serving.