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close-up of Greek ‘Yiahni’ is a dish with vegetables or potatoes cooked with tomato sauce and sautéed onions

Yiahni

Yiahni is a dish with vegetables or potatoes cooked with tomato sauce and sautéed onions.

It is usually prepared during Lent. You will find it accompanying legumes, such as black-eyed beans, chickpeas, or vegetables such as wild greens, cauliflower, okra, leeks and eggplant.

The word derives from the term “ahno” meaning the steam released from a pot whose lid is not tightly closed, generating just enough steam to cook foods that do not need intense or long cooking lest they are ruined, sometimes by melting. These include vegetables and greens, which sometimes can lose their shape or texture, such as fish and various shellfish.

Housewives in olden times typically steamed an onion, simmering it, instead of roasting it to make their food mildly sweet, at which point they added rice or meat and, when close to done, added vegetables or steamed greens, as they do in Crete.

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