Traditional Greek Cooking Basics

Cooking with greek yogurt

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Traditional Greek cooking grew out of a rural lifestyle lived by people who were poor in the economic sense, but wealthy in imagination and creativity. A few basic guidelines ensure that Greek foods are at their very best in taste, nutrition, and economy. If you're new to cooking greek foods then these are the perfect tips to keep in mind as you learn your favorite dishes. If you master these than you're surely going to bring authentic Greek food to your dinner table every night.

Guidelines and Tips

  • Use fresh seasonal ingredients: Traditional Greek cooking fully celebrates the seasons. Fresh ingredients are part of every traditional Greek cook's life, and daily shopping trips are the norm.
  • Make dishes from scratch: Traditional Greek dishes are made from scratch. Commercially-prepared ingredients are rarely used.
  • Be simple: The art of great Greek cooking is to keep it simple, celebrating the taste of fresh ingredients and fabulous combinations of herbs and spices, rather than covering them up. Grilling, baking, roasting, frying, and stewing are some of the favorite cooking methods used.
  • Take it slow: In your vocabulary, "slow cooker" may mean a kitchen appliance but, when it comes to traditional Greek cooking, slow is the only way to cook. To speed things up, pressure cookers may be used, but they're used to reduce cooking times from 4 to 5 hours or longer to 1 to 2 hours which is still slow by most definitions. When the food cooks slowly, tastes have time to meld, creating mouthwatering dishes that most Greeks easily identify with their mothers' and grandmothers' kitchens.
  • Avoid substitutes: Many ingredients used in Greek cooking are readily available in world markets, but there are some that may be hard to find. If you're looking for the best authentic results from your efforts, make an extra effort to use ingredients called for in the recipes.