Around the world in 80 dishes No.28: Greece

Global kitchen
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Tahini soup, by Tessa Kiros

Ingredients to serve 4

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Half a teaspoon paprika

Sprinkling of ground chilli, optional

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

About 150 g fresh egg-free noodles or 80 g dried

130 g tahini

Juice of one-and-a-half lemons

Olive oil, for serving

For the noodles

100 g plain (all-purpose) flour

3 teaspoons olive oil


Hilopites are Greek-style noodles/pasta that are served on the side of some dishes or in soups. They are available dried, in packets, from Greek grocers or you can make your own (see below).

Toast the sesame seeds lightly in a small dry frying pan. Add the paprika and the chilli, if using, and cook briefly, taking care not to burn it. Stir the lemon zest through and remove from the pan to a small bowl.

Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a pot with some salt. Add the hilopites and boil until just tender, which will be about 2 minutes, or according to the packet instructions if dried.

Meanwhile, put the tahini and lemon juice into a bowl, add a ladleful of the boiling hilopites water and whisk until smooth. When the hilopites are ready, pour the tahini mixture in and stir gently over the heat for a couple of minutes. Taste for salt. Serve in bowls with a dribble of olive oil, a scattering of the sesame paprika mixture and a grind of pepper.

To make the noodles: Stir the flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl. Add the olive oil and about one-and-a-half tablespoons of water and mix into a loose dough with a wooden spoon. Now bring it together with your hands and knead for 1 to 2 minutes, adding a little more flour if necessary to give a smooth, quite dry dough. Rest at room temperature, covered loosely with a tea towel, for 30 minutes or so.

Roll out very thinly, until almost see-through, on a dry surface that has been only very lightly floured. Cut into strips of about 2 cm, then cut those up into rough rectangles of 3 to 4 cm. The hilopites can be left out to dry a little for easier handling (they will be less likely to stick together) for 30 minutes or so, but it's not necessary. If you try to completely dry long strands, they will tend to break into smaller lengths, but for the tahini soup this is not a problem.

Taken from 'Food From Many Greek Kichens' by Tessa Kiros (Murdoch Books, £25)