Ancient Greek Food Ingredients

Some unusual ingredients that were commonly used in ancient cooking are also referred in the recipes that are given in this web page.Therefore it is essential that we describe them in order to understand the ways that can be produced, searched for or even replaced with others that resemble them, in order to be able to maintain the original taste of the recipes.

The following information can be found, together with many recipes, in an excellent book by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger. The translated into Greek version of the book has the title “Μαγειρική της Αρχαιότητας” (The Classical Cookbook).

Garos (Γάρος – liquamen): Liquid that is produced when straining fish that has been kept in salt for 3 months. The fish was put in salt without been cleaned. The smell of the fish that was mixed with salt was often very bad. This is the main reason why the production of Garos in big cities was often forbidden. Garos was used in large quantities in Greek and Roman dishes.

The modern Tai sauce Nam Pla and Vietnamese sauce Nwok Mam are the sauces that best resemble the taste of garos. The Nwok Mam sauce can be easily found in any chinese supermarket.

Ligystiko(Λυγιστικό – Levisticum officinale): Commonly used in recipes described in the Roman book “Apicius: the Roman cookery book”. Has a bitter and strong taste and is suitable for cooking fish. Its taste characterizes the authentic Roman cuisine. It should be used fresh. It can be cultivated and can reach 3 meters high. It resembles the taste of the green leaves of celery. It is easily preserved chopped in olive oil.

Apiganos (Απήγανος – Ruta graveolens): Rarely used these days. It has an unusual bitter taste and is also known as a pharmaceutical herb. It can be also used in dried form.

Skordolasaro (Σκορδολάζαρο – Ferula asafoetida): Used today in Indian cuisine for example for the production of the fried breads “Popadom”. It resembles the taste of garlic and leek.