Kleftiko





Kleftiko is my favourite Cretan dish. The Greek word kleftis means thief, and from this word comes the English word kleptomania (a compulsion to steal).

In former times pirates ambushed villages on the Greek islands and prepared meals on their ship afterwards, using food stolen from their victims. It’s for this reason you never really know what it is in a kleftiko – it really is just a mix of all the food which the pirates stole.

Nowadays, there are two variations of kleftiko on Crete which can be found in most good restaurants:

• A big pastry from the oven filled with meat (mostly lamb), vegetables and potatoes (delicious)

• The same, but in aluminium foil instead of pastry casing (more simple and not as good as the pastry version, in my opinion)

Sometimes there are variations such as ‘vegetarian kleftiko’, ‘lamb kleftiko’ and ‘chicken kleftiko’. The best and most popular kleftiko is that made with lamb. Sometimes there is also feta in the kleftiko.

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