The modern Greek word is arakas αρακάς. Mpizeli in Greek μπιζέλι (or pizeli as it is pronounced in Cyprus), comes from the italian word pisello – in latin pisellum pisum a name which originally was Greek from the ancient Greek pissos – pisson (αρχαία ελληνική πίσος ή πίσον (αντιδάνειο) and borrowed back from us. The word arakas is also from the ancient word “arakos – άρακος) probably from an ancient word of Asian origin.
One of the Greek ladera I love very much is mpizelia (peas). Peas and carrots is one of the Greek staple foods I love very much which only needs a few ingredients but as this is a versatile dish, each time I make it I find myself adding different ingredients.
Although during the summer I use fresh peas, I cook it year round using frozen peas, which is equally good and nutritious (and much more easier ).
Ladera, are our Greek vegeterian dishes and can be anything with seasonal vegetables, cooked with olive oil, because olive oil is their main condiment. However, I have learned to reduce the amount of olive oil considerably, making the dish lighter and healthier. I’ve seen many recipes using sugar in these recipes. Although at the early stages of cooking I did use a pinch of sugar in sauces, now I have completely stopped using it and believe me the dish will be so sweet from the carrots that people eating it may think that you did add sugar in it.
Pizeli – Arakas Laderos (Peas with Carrots)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
500 grams (1.10 lbs) fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
4 ripe tomatoes or 1 tin (500 grams – 1.10 lbs) whole tomatoes, pureed with 1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup of parsley, finely chopped
½ cup dill, finely chopped
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté onion until translucent and soft. Add fresh or frozen peas (no need to thaw) and mix for 2 minutes.
Add carrots and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add tomato purée and water, reduce heat and simmer until cooked, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary.
Five minutes before the end add the parsley and dill and mix.
Serve with Greek feta which is a must for all “ladera” dishes and crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,
Tags: Arakas, Cypriot cookbook, Food events, frugal recipes, Giahni, healthy recipes, Ladera, Mediterranean diet, Mint Cinnamon & Blossom Water Flavours of Cyprus Kopiaste!, mpizeli, nistisimes syntages, Nistisimo, Peas, pizeli, Sarakostiana, Stew, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian