There are about 11 million Greeks in today’s Greece and about another 11 million throughout the rest of the world. Greeks have long traveled beyond familiar land and have made their new beginnings in far off lands.
Eons ago, Greeks had settlements in Egypt, as far west as southern France and as far east as India when Alexander the Great traversed and conquered and Greeks co-habitated with locals.
Greeks, for ages, lived beyond the borders of today’s Greece and some the oldest Greek settlements were in Asia Minor. Of particular notice today are the Pontian Greeks who lived in Pontos or around the Black Sea. Earliest mention of Greeks in the Black Sea region is from Greek mythology when Jason and the Argonauts traveled here in search of the Golden Fleece.
Political upheavels between Turkey and Greece caused large populations of Greek and Turks to be expelled from respective territories. Greece saw an influx of Asian Minor Greeks from Smyrni, Constantinople and the Turkish interior and of course, Pontians from around the Black Sea.
Like any refugee, you’re forced to leave your life behind, unable to think about what belongings to bring with you and most people simply came with their memories and local customs and dialects with them. Pontian Greeks have resettled throughout Greece but the majority live in Athens, Thessaloniki and in towns throughout the province of Macedonia.
Although my family is not Pontian we do have many family members (through marriage) that are Pontians and of course, many friends. This recipe comes courtesy of one my mother’s best friends, kuria (Mrs.) Eleni Abatzoglou, who shared her recipe for Pontiaka Piroski.
Piroski are fried dough with an array of filling from potato, to cheese and to meet. They are easy to make and through the miracle of fried dough – they are addictive and dangerous to have laying about as you just can’t get enough of them!
For the Pontiaka Piroski (Ποντιακα Πιροσκι) recipe, please buy my Everything Mediterranean cookbook.
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