The word tarama is of Turkish origin and derives from the word for fish roe. In Greece, it is also called chaviari.
Its basic ingredient is the roe of cod or carp, which is salted and left for some days to mature. It is then mixed, following particular methods, with olive oil, lemon juice and a starchy base of bread or potatoes or sometimes almonds, creating what is called tarama. Variations of tarama include adding garlic, onions or peppers, and substituting vinegar for lemon juice.
Two types of tarama are found in the marketplace: white and red. It is used to make two very popular and delicious dishes that are enjoyed all over Greece on Ash Monday: taramokeftedes (meat balls made using tarama) and taramosalata (a spread based on tarama).