Greece is home to some of the finest ingredients in the world and the Mediterranean nation's cuisine is all about simple preparation and seasonal flavours. Here we share a few of the most popular and delicious Greek dishes!
From some of the best lamb dishes to fresh seafood, vegetables, beans, pulses and of course good olive oil, Greek cuisine is simple, colourful and incredibly nutritious.
When Greeks taste something delicious, they have a lovely phrase 'Yia Sta Heria Stas' which translates as 'I kiss your hands', celebrating the skill of the cook.
Here, we take a look at the most popular and delicious Greek dishes according to Dimitris , the Owner and Chef of Santorini restaurant in Sydney:
Moussaka has three layers that are separately cooked before being combined for the final baking - a bottom layer of sliced eggplant, a middle layer of ground lamb lightly cooked with chopped or puréed tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices – plus a top layer of creamy Bechamel sauce. The dish is then layered into a pan and baked until the top layer turns a golden brown! This is comfort food at its best.
Dimitri’s tips for creating the perfect moussaka are to cook the eggplant on the grill first – not in olive oil so it isn’t too heavy or oily. And also to use cinnamon cloves and nutmeg in the spice mix.
2. Arni Kleftiko (Greek Style Lamb Shoulder)
Legend has it that kleftiko, which is slowly cooked lamb, can be translated as “Stolen meat” .The Klephts, not having flocks of their own, would steal lambs or Goats and cook the meat in sealed pits to avoid the smoke from being seen. Lamb shoulder marinated in garlic and lemon and then cooked with paprika, tomatoes, potatoes and melted fetta.
A traditional Taramosalata recipe is made from fish roe (or taramas), olive oil, lemon juice, bread crumbs and seasonings. It is a rich, creamy and absolutely delicious dip! It is usually served up as part of a meze platter with breads and olives. In Greece, this popular dip is eaten all year round but traditionally on the first day of Easter lent.
The classic Greek salad is a refreshing combination of tomato, cucumber, olives, feta and onion dressed with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
5. Grilled Octopus
Seafood is popular fare in Greece, with octopus caught fresh from the Mediterranean Sea some of the tastiest you'll find anywhere in the world. It's not uncommon to see ocotpus hanging out to dry out front of the local tavernas before being prepped and barbecued. At Santorini restuarnt, the seafood is cooked by Dimitris and his team on the open char grill at the front to create a delicious smoky flavour.
6. Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)
This traditional Greek dessert is made with layers of golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter, filled with the most creamy custard and bathed in scented syrup.
7. Kourabiethes (Sugar Almond Cookies)
These delicious treats are made from almonds and coated in white icing sugar. During the Christmas period, most Greek homes can be found with a plate of these homemade shortbread cookies on hand for when visitors stop by.
Santorini restaurant is located in Darlinghurst, NSW and serves authentic Greek cuisine. Find out more at santorinionoxford.com.au or phone (02) 9360 9342.