How To Eat Koukia - The Greek Fava Beans
Many simple foods transform into exotic recipes once they enter Greece, for instance, the fritters turn into Tiganita, pasta becomes Pastitsio, and the humble fava beans become the KOUKIA, Greeks love eating Koukia or the Greek fava beans, and use it generously in various recipes. To learn how to eat Koukia, you first need to understand the importance of Koukia in Greek cuisine and the ways in which it is used.
Koukia was the only bean variety available in ancient Greece and hence, widely used in the various recipes eaten by the commoners. However, the priestly class was forbidden from eating Koukia (the black spot on the beans was associated with death). The koukia also had many non-culinary uses, for instance, they were widely used for casting votes (black koukia was a no and white referred to yes).
In modern Greece, people eat this highly variety of nutritious beans in a number of forms and dishes, here I have listed the most popular ways in which you may choose to eat Koukia:
• Eat them fresh: Koukia lathera and Aginares me koukia are the 2 famous Greek dishes that use fresh Fava beans. While, Koukia lathera is made by cooking fresh beans with pureed tomatoes, herbs, spices, and olive oil, till the beans are soft and tender; the Aginares me koukia is a stew made with fresh Koukia bean pods and diced artichokes. Traditionally these dishes are eaten as a main course with some crusty bread and feta cheese on the side. Fresh Koukia may also be used in a variety of other stews or just blanched and sautéed with herbs, olive oil and onions to make an interesting meze dish.
• After the beans dry: Dried Koukia may be eaten boiled combined with some salt or garlic sauce. Boiled Koukia is a popular mezethes served with local drinks like Ozu and Tsikoudia. Dried Koukia may also be mashed up and used to make Greek style bean soup, sauces dips, or salad dressings.
These are just some of the ways in which you can eat Koukia; however, knowing how colorful the Greek cuisine is, I am sure there are several more ways of eating Koukia. Do refer to this link for further information on Koukia, fava beans and Greek cooking.
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