Pita

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This article is about the flatbread. For other uses, see Pita (disambiguation).
Pita
Nablus souq pita 118 - Aug 2011.jpg
Place of origin Middle East
Main ingredients Flour and water
Food energy
(per serving)
165 kcal (691 kJ)
Cookbook:Pita  Pita

Pita or pitta (/ˈpitə/, /ˈptə/ or /ˈpɪtə/)[1] (from Greek: πίτα) is a soft, slightly leavened flatbread baked from wheat flour. It is used in many Mediterranean, Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisines and resembles other slightly leavened flatbreads such as Iranian nan-e barbari, South Asian flatbreads and Central Asian naan, and pizza crust.

Etymology[edit]

Pita is a loanword from Greek, pita (πίτα), probably derived from the Ancient Greek pēktos (πηκτός), meaning "solid" or "clotted".[2]

This word has also spread to Romanian as pită, Turkish as pide,[3] Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian as pita, Albanian as pite and Modern Hebrew as pittāh.[4]

In the Arabic world, pita is a foreign word; all breads are called khubz (ordinary bread), and specifically this bread is known as khubz arabi "Arabic bread". The tenth-century Arab cookery book, Kitab al-Tabikh by ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, includes six recipes for khubz, all baked in a tannur oven.[5]

Preparation[edit]

Six pitas baking on a circular pan in a wood-fired oven
Pita baking in Nazareth

Most pita are baked at high temperatures (450 °F or 232 °C), causing the flattened rounds of dough to puff up dramatically. When removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened to form a pocket. However, pita is sometimes baked without pockets and is called "pocketless pita".

Culinary use[edit]

Pita can be used to scoop sauces or dips such as hummus and taramosalata, or to wrap kebabs, gyros or falafel in the manner of sandwiches. It can also be cut and baked into crispy pita chips.

In Greece, pita is a component of pita-souvlaki. These types of sandwiches involve the wrapping of souvlaki or gyros with tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, french fries, hamburgers, and condiments into a pita bread.

Also, several pitas are found all over Greece (as a home meal or as appetizers, snacks or desserts), such as Kolokythopita, Mizithropita (Crete), Melintzanopita, Tsouknidopita, Kremydopita, Kreatopita (meat pie), Galatopita, Marathopita, Tyropita, Spanakopita, Malathropita (Chios), Ladopita.

In Turkey, local pita is called pide, which also refers to another pizza-like food made of pide dough topped with different ingredients. Regional variations in the shape, baking technique, and topped materials create distinctive styles for each region. Such pides may include pastırma, sucuk, chicken, chopped or ground beef, kavurma (meat, generally mutton or beef, fried with suet and salt and kept for later use), cheese, potatoes, mushrooms and many other ingredients.

Turkish pide recipes include the following: Plain pide is used for serving some kebabs on it such as Döner kebap, İskender kebap, Şiş kebap, Adana kebabı, Urfa Kebabı, Yoğurtlu kebap (Kebab with yogurt), Pidei köfte and Tokat kebabı, among others.

In Palestinian, Lebanese, Iraqi, Israeli, Egyptian and Syrian cuisine, almost every savory dish can be eaten in or on a pita, from falafel, lamb or chicken shawarma, kebab, omelettes such as shakshouka (eggs and tomatoes), hummus and other mezes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Collins English Dictionary". 
  2. ^ Babiniotis, Georgios (2005). Λεξικό της Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας (Lexicon of New Greek). Κέντρο Λεξικολογίας. p. 1412. ISBN 960-86190-1-7. 
  3. ^ Linda Civitello (2007). Cuisine and culture: a history of food and people (Paperback ed.). Wiley. p. 98. ISBN 0-471-74172-8. 
  4. ^ Via the Judaeo-Spanish pita. Though the Hebrew word pittāh is spelled like the Aramaic pittəṭā/pittā, which is related to Levantine Arabic fatteh, they are not connected historically. Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, April 2009 s.v. 'pita'
  5. ^ Nawal Nasrallah, Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens: Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's Tenth Century Baghdadi Cookbook, Brill: Leiden, the Netherlands, 2007. pp. 118–126.