Tsigarides or Sisira
When holidaying in Syros, Andros, or Tinos, one has the opportunity to try local products of exceptional quality and special local recipes that offer unique moments of gastronomic pleasure! Don’t forget to try the unique pork appetizer, sisira. This is a Christmas snack, made from pork fat.
A portion of the pork is made into sausages and louza, while the fatty flesh is boiled in cauldrons so that it becomes “sisira” and pork fat. Actually, these are the small pieces of fat that are under the skin and retain minimal amounts of meat.
The reddish-pink flesh of the pig’s skin is cut into cubes and boiled in salted water until the water evaporates. Then, the liquid containing the fat is separated and stored in a separate container that congeals as it cools, acquiring the white color of pork fat. The skins with small amounts of fat that are left are fried, making the sisira. It is often stored in pork fat to be cooked and eaten in January and February along with various fried greens.
In other parts of Greece, it is called tsigarides. In the Zagorochoria (Epirus), in the western part of mainland Greece, as well as in the central Peloponnese, they are used to make what is locally called tsigaridopites, that is, tsigarides pitas, a type of stuffed bread filled with pork. In Cyprus, it is baked with cabbage. In Syros, Andros, and Tinos, it is called sisira because of the noise it makes as it fries at the bottom of the pot. It is eaten hot and doused with plentiful amounts of lemon.