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Trahanas began life – a long time ago now – as a way to preserve milk. There were no refrigerators, the eastern Mediterranean gets hot enough that milk won’t last long (hence the early start for yoghurt and cheese in the area), and summer is the time when milk is plentiful. Indeed, there’s an excess of it then, just as there could be of beef, pork, lamb and goat’s meat. Those could be cured and salted to get them though the winter. But what could you do with milk?

The answer was to mix it with semolina, bulgur wheat or some other grain, then dry the mixture, and then break it into chunks. (In some places, all sorts of stuff might be added – vegetables, sesame seeds, slices of chilli – whatever the housewife fancied for her family, really, because this was small-scale domestic husbandry).  After the chunks had dried further, they would be broken down into pieces of pebble size. In fact, “pebbles” is not a bad description of the way trahanas looks.

Of course, we now have refrigeration, and it’s no longer necessary to turn milk into trahanas in order to preserve it. So, how to explain the thriving co-operatives that exist to package, market and distribute trahanas? There’s only one explanation that makes sense, and that is; that people still love the taste.

There are lots of things you can do with trahanas that will help you understand its continuing popularity. You can mix it into yoghurt, giving it time to fall to pieces before eating. You can put it into stews, or make it into pies with sharp, spicy sausages or lamb or – if you can find it, goat. (If you have difficulty finding goat where you live, look for a West African store). Make a soup of meatballs, tomatoes and trahanas. Or go right to the meatballs themselves; normally you’d use breadcrumbs to hold them together, but ring the changes with trahanas for a delightfully different taste and texture.

We’ve seen trahanas described as the oldest fast food in the world, and there are stories that it fuelled the foot soldiers from Greece and Rome as they set out to conquer the whole of the known world. Is it related to Tarkhaneh, the dish that looked like pebbles and was made from grains and dairy products? Very possibly. It certainly fed the shepherds and other Middle Eastern nomads who found it easy to pack, easy to carry and amazingly full of nourishment an denergy for something so small.

Company Info

Contact Person: Nikos Andrea
Mailing Address: Koniele Trading LTD,
Evagorou 6, Dromolaxia, Cyprus 7020
Call/Text: 00 357 97 884776
Company Reg. No: HE343968