Yogurt (for sour trahana)
Milk (for sweet trahana)
Vegetables (red peppers, tomatoes,
onions, for red trahana)
The primary ingredient in trahana is wheat flour or cracked wheat, which is typically mixed with milk or yogurt to obtain a sort of dough. This is left to fermented for 2-3 days, traditionally in a wooden container, and is then dried. Finally, it is crumbled between the thumb and fingers into small, irregular, rice-like grains. For red tarhana, a puree of tomatoes, onions, and red peppers is prepared and mixed with the flour; the rest of the process is the same as for the dairy-based sweet and sour versions.
Trahana is a wheat-based product that is eaten throughout Albania, particularly in Korçë County (southeastern Albania) and Myzeqe (a plain in southwestern Albania). Several variations of this product exist, with sweet tarhana (made with whole milk, usually from goats), sour tarhana (made with yogurt), and red tarhana (made with red pepper, tomato, and onion) being among the most representative types. In some regions, especially Mallakastra in Fier County, trahana is made by mixing wheat flour with a clear meat broth.
The trahana produced in Albania belongs to a wider family of homemade staples produced throughout the Balkans and Anatolia, and their origin is as ancient as agriculture. Trahana or tarhana, in turn, are link to the middle eastern and Persian tradition of Keshk (or keshek). They all are linked to a slightly fermented mix of a cereal and milk (or yogurt), which is left to ferment and then dehydrated. Without a doubt, Trahanaja is one of the oldest foods in Albania. Traditionally trahana was a way to preserve a stample for the winter times. It has always been prepared by housewives and girls during autumn for use as a winter provision. Young children, too, often help make it. During the 7-10 days when the women of the household are making it, virtually every available surface in the house is covered with trays of drying trahana. This product is used to make a kind of thick soup by adding a few spoons of it to boiling water or broth. Leftover bread is also added, and the soup is garnished with fresh butter or a drizzle of olive oil, red pepper,
and feta cheese. There are many regional, local and family recipes for trahana. In some regions, the pudding is cooked with chopped onions or leeks, caramelized in a pan with lard. This sauce makes trahana particularly tasty. Children love tarhana, and it has been introduced into some school canteens.
Source: ‘Arka e Shijes’, Dhurata Thanasi (Luga e Argjendtë)