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Tyrokafteri (Greek Hot Cheese Dip)

Tyrokafteri (Greek Hot Cheese Dip)

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Tyrokafteri, pronounced  tee-rho-ka-fte-RHEE, from the Greek words “tyros” = cheese + “kaftero” = hot, in some places also called “ktypiti” or “kopanisti”, is a dip or a spread with cheese and red hot peppers.

“Kopanisti”, takes its name from the cheese produced in the Cyclades and the Aegean, which is a type of soft cheese with a peppery, spicy

“Kopanisti”, takes its name from the cheese produced in the Cyclades and the Aegean, which is a type of soft cheese with a peppery, spicy flavor.  However, it can also be made with any kind of feta or other soft cheese.

This dip or a spread is made with a soft, creamy cheese with a peppery, spicy flavor which is  called kopanisti and is produced in Mykonos and in other Cycladic islands.  The other ingredient which makes it hot is the roasted hot  peppers added to the spread.

Tyrokafteri with pastitsio image

It is more usual to find it under the name tyrokafteri in most Greek tavernas and is ideal to go with wine, ouzo or raki.

In the post you will find two recipes.  One was made one day when I could not find any hot peppers, so I used sweet peppers and harissa and the second one at the end, is the traditional recipe, made with hot peppers.

Depending on the colour of the peppers used, the dip will take the colour of the peppers. If you use only red peppers the dip will be red-ish, if you use dark green, the dip will be green-ish and if you use light green, they will have a lighter green-ish colour.

If you don’t want the tyrokafteri to be too hot, you can add some Greek strained yoghurt to make it milder.

Hot peppers image

As I have mentioned in a previous post, when I wrote about Kokoras Krassatos, our friends from Crete sent us a lot of xynomyzithra.

They live in a village in Crete and have their own sheep as well as other other livestock and they make the cheese themselves.  They sent me too much, four large blocks, each one must be more than one kilo.

xynomyzithra image

Last year when they sent me some again, I stored it in the deep freezer and we were eating some for the past year.

Last week I thawed a big piece and made a tyropita with puff pastry but I still had some left, so I decided to make some tyrokafteri.

My husband went to buy the groceries but unfortunately he did not find hot bulls’ peppers, so instead he brought two red and two green sweet peppers.

However, I had this crave for tyrokafteri that I decided to make some any way, even if I didn’t have the hot peppers. You will find the traditional recipe at the end of the post.

Recently, when I visited the central market of Athens, Varvakeios, I bought some harissa so I decided to give it the hot touch with this Tunisian hot pepper.

red and green roasted peppers image

I roasted the peppers and put them in a food processor with some feta, xynomyzithra, yoghurt, olive oil and harissa  and puréed them for a few minutes until they became a nice, hot spread.

The spread was perfect, hot but so addictive we could not stop eating it. The leftover was even better the following day as a spread on some crackers.

tyrokkafteri ingredients image

Tyrokafteri with Harissa

Preparation and roasting time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 green  and 1 red peppers, roasted
  • 150 grams feta
  • 150 grams xynomyzithra 
  • 2 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon harissa
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Start by roasting the peppers. See how to roast them here.
  2. Brush the peppers with olive oil and bake in a preheated oven to 200 degrees Centigrade, for about 10 – 15 minutes, turning them over once, and bake them for another five minutes, taking care not to burn them.
Peppers sweating in a bag image

3.  Put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until you have a creamy consistency.

Tyrokafteri ingredients in a food processor image

4. Transfer to a bowl, refrigerate and serve with some pita chips!

Note:  I preferred not to add vinegar or lemon juice, as xynomyzithra has a slight sour taste.

Xynomyzithra may be substituted by anthotyro (similar to ricotta) or you can make the spread  using only feta.   If you use green hot bull’s horn peppers substitute the red and green pepper with 2 roasted hot peppers.  In this case harissa would not be necessary.  See recipe which follows.

I am submitting this recipe to Rachel, at The Crispy Cook, who is hosting this weeks’ Grow Your Own, created by Andrea, of Andrea’s Recipes.

TYROKAFTERI (THE TRADITIONAL RECIPE)

Roasting hot peppers image

This is the traditional recipe of tyrokafteri, made with the long, hot green peppers, which is a cheese dip, which is perfect as an appetizer on bread, pita chips or crackers.

Usually, hot peppers are sold in Greece in a bunch of 8 – 10 peppers.  They are too many to use to make tyrokafteri.

Storing hot peppers image

What I do, is roast all of them and then after peeling and deseeding them, I put them in pairs in plastic bags and store them in the freezer.

Whenever I need to use them, I just thaw two, which isn’t even necessary as they will mash easily in the food processor and make the dip!

Tyrokafteri image

Tyrokafteri

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Tyrokafteri, which is a Greek cheese dip, is made with roasted hot chili peppers and feta. It is perfect as an appetizer on bread, pita chips or crackers.

Ingredients

  • 2 hot bull's horn peppers or chili peppers, roasted
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 200 grams feta
  • 100 grams Greek yoghurt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Begin by roasting the peppers. Wash the peppers and after draining excess water brush them with the olive oil and place them in the oven until their skin blisters. Watch them carefully so they do not burn.
  2. Place the roasted peppers in a plastic bag and seal for 5 – 10 minutes and allow them to sweat.
  3. When you can handle them, remove the stems and discard the skin, seeds and any veins.
  4. Put them in a food processor and mix, adding the remaining olive oil and vinegar. 
  5. Finally add the cheese and mix to make a creamy spread. Taste and if it is too hot for your liking, add some Greek yoghurt and mix.

Notes

Depending on the colour of the peppers used, the dip will take the colour of the peppers. If you use only red peppers the dip will be red-ish, if you use dark green, the dip will be green-ish and if you use light green, they will have a lighter green-ish colour.

Apart from feta, you can also use other Greek cheeses such as xynomyzithra, anthotyros or Katiki Domokou or a mixture of these cheeses

When you make the dip it will be hot but after half an hour it will become much hotter.

If you don't want it too hot, you can add some Greek strained yoghurt to make it milder.

Nutrition Information
Yield 1 cup Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1058Total Fat 97gSaturated Fat 37gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 56gCholesterol 178mgSodium 1843mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 2gSugar 13gProtein 30g

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Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

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Other relevant recipes:

How to roast Piperies Florinis (sweet red peppers)

Red Pepper Dip

Kopiaste and kali orexi!

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