I can’t keep it a secret – or as a Greek quote says ‘ηλίου φαεινότερο’, meaning ‘it is as obvious as the sun’. My Pontian ancestry is obvious not only from my name but also in the way I use the materials the Earth offers me.
One of the most humble yet delicious Pontian dishes is ‘tanomenos sorvas’. To make a long story short, it is groats of wheat (korkoto), with onions, mint, and some butter and yogurt in the form of soup.
I can say that it is an all-day dish – good for breakfast, lunch, and supper. You get fiber, carbohydrates, and protein all in one dish. But if you eat your favorite dish over and over, you get a little bored. Also, even though it is highly nutritious, there is a lack of vitamins and minerals and not a lot of antioxidants.
Usually, with traditional dishes, at that point I start to play with herbs. Some of these attempts are a total disaster but this one was good. In 2 liters of water place 200 ml of groats of wheat, ½ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp sweet paprika, ½ tsp lemon balm, 1 tsp mint, 2 tsp fresh dill. Boil it all together for 25 min and when cold add 150 gr of straggisto or other yogurt. Salt is not necessary.
Here is just a glimpse of what I have done randomly with such dishes, with the benefits we get from the ingredients.
Turmeric: anti-inflammatory, protecting against heart disease, and cancer. Antioxidant, boosting the brain and helping with Alzheimer’s and related diseases, as well as arthritis. Antidepressant (bye bye Prozac)
Paprika: vitamins and iron, minerals, antioxidants! Promotes vision, reduces inflammation, improves cholesterol hence helps with heart diseases, anticancer. Helps with anemia (due to the iron and vitamin E)
Lemon balm: reduce stress and anxiety (I remember my ex-manager drinking lemon balm tea every morning!), boosts brain function, eases insomnia and sleep disorders, helps with indigestion and nausea
Mint: vitamin A and antioxidants, helping with irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion. Boosts brain function
Dill: surprisingly good source of vitamins and minerals (the same goes for parsley), antioxidant and anticancer properties
Yogurt: protein and calcium in a bucket of probiotics.
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.