Question. What is Koliva?
Answer. Koliva are boiled wheat kernels which are blended with various nuts, herbs and sweeteners and it is a customary practice according to Greek orthodox church tradition to bring the prepared koliva in church at various intervals after a death, a funeral or a memorial service (mnimosino). The preparation of koliva is done by family members. Due to its sweet pleasant taste it is also consumed as a dessert on non-religious occasions.
Tips, tricks and info on how to make Koliva
- Place the wheat kernels in hot water or even better bring to a boil, and immediately shutt off the heat. Let kernels soak in the hot water over night. Next morning, boil at medium low heat for about 3 hours or until kernels are plump (not under or over cooked).
- When done, strain the water using a colander.
- Place the kernels over a table cloth.
- Let the kernels dry over night in the refrigerator wrapped in the table cloth until all moisture is gone. If not dry by morning leave another 12-24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Once the kernels are dry you will add all the ingredients.
- Chop the nuts and place them in a bowl.
- Sauté the seeds at medium low heat until slightly colored.
- Crush the sautéed seeds by using a pestle & mortar.
- Add the chopped herbs.
- Pour the complete nut mixture onto the dried wheat kernels.
- Blend everything very well.
- If the whole batch is to used right away, you may add some pomegranate kernels at this point.
- Do NOT add the sugar to the complete batch unless it will be eaten within the hour.
- If you wish you may freeze the mixture and use when needed.
- For a personal portion a good ratio of wheat mixture to sugar is 8:2; 8 tbsp of wheat mixture to 2 tbsp of sugar.
NOTE: If this Greek recipe is of interest to you, you may watch our video with step by step instructions and precise ingredient amounts. Koliva video