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Chios, also known as the fragrant island, seduces tourists with the scents of mastic and citrus trees. Before the industrialization that began in the early 20th century, the traditional pasta in Chios was made by hand. In Greek, the Chios traditional pasta is called Herisia because the Chian women created them using their hands (heria in Greek).
Since the island’s inhabitants impacted its cuisine, I cannot describe the traditional foods of Chios. However, Izmir has significantly impacted regional cuisine, and I think anything produced by a Yaya smells just like a meal from Greece.
Why try the Chios traditional pasta
Traditional pasta prepared by hand is a form of art. First, you should try them because they are delicious and among the must-try Chios traditional dishes. You will value them more because of the laborious preparation required if you observe how they are created by the older local ladies and tavern owners who saw the potential.
Since they are already so flavorful, they typically come with a red tomato sauce, and you won’t see them served with many more ingredients.
Where to find the Chios traditional pasta AKA Herisia
Today, you can still find Herisia in a few taverns and in local homes where older women have the time, patience, and appetite to shape them by wrapping them around the sparse twig. As expected, the traditional handmade pasta has the best taste.
Few tavernas employ this technique, but a place where you will find them for sure is Pityos village. Kardamyla is located on the island’s northern side and offers a choice for trying the Chios traditional pasta.
Why are they called herisia
Herissia or Spartou is the name of the pasta. The twig known as a “Spartos” is where the pasta is shaped, taking on its distinctive shape with a hole in the center for better boiling.
How to make/ cook the Chios traditional pasta
If you want to make traditional pasta yourself, then you are in the right place! Below we show you the recipe that is used until today by the Chios women.
However, even if you don’t have the time, we share the cooking instructions for store-bought herisia. Boil salted water and add the pasta. Cooking time is more than spaghetti as herisia is thicker. Top it with a rooster that had been slow-cooked for hours in red wine, cinnamon, allspice, and fresh tomatoes.
Chios traditional pasta AKA Herissia Recipe
A Chios food from the Traditional Recipes book was published in 1998.
1 kg flour
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon salt
1 spartos twig or a chopstick
- Put the flour in a bowl and make a hole in the middle.
- Add oil, salt, and warm water to that hole, and mix until the dough becomes tight.
- Cut the dough into small pieces and place them on a backing sheet, which first sprinkle with flour. It would be best if you also sprinkled the dough pieces, so they dry more and do not stick between each other.
- Fold the pieces of dough around the spartos (or a chopstick) and rub our palms very quickly around the dough until it lengthens and takes the shape of spaghetti.
- Turn the spartos back and forth slightly until the spaghetti comes off, quickly pulling it out without spoiling the shape. The traditional pasta with the hole is ready.
- Cook them in boiled salted water.
- Add the spaghetti to the water and cook for 15-25 minutes or until soft.
- Serve them with fresh tomato sauce and grated goat cheese.
Tips for the best traditional pasta
- The dough should not be too soft because it will stick.
- When the spaghetti is finished, place them on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with flour and let them dry.
- Serve them with rooster or chicken cooked in wine.