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Kinteata nettle soup
Kinteata nettle soup is a dense and delicious broth of nettles and spearmint, spiced with red chili flakes called bukovo or ground black pepper and thickened with cornflour. Pontic Greeks love the retro dark green nettle soup and enjoy it as a starter/appetizer especially during the winter season. This historic recipe from the Kingdom of Pontus or Pontic Empire (later called ‘Greek region of Pontus’) is part history and part gastronomic experience.
Course Soup
Cuisine Pontic Greek
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
4
Ingredients
Course Soup
Cuisine Pontic Greek
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
4
Ingredients
Instructions
How to harvest and prepare nettles
  1. You can gather nettles from the wild. If you wish to harvest stinging nettles, I advise you to wear gardening gloves and use garden scissors. Cut off only the upper leaves and make sure that all of the leaves are separated from the stalks. Collect them in a wooden shopping basket. Rinse the nettles thoroughly with cold water and drain them.
How to make kinteata
  1. Pour lukewarm water in a large pot, set on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then add the nettles. Cook for 20' until they are tender.
  2. Remove from the heat, drain the nettles and salvage the water after draining the nettles. The water is rich in nutrients and it will be used for the soup. Pour the water into a container. Set aside half cup of the nutrient-rich water to dissolve the cornflour in it.
  3. Purée the nettles in a food processor until smooth. Place the purée and the water inside the same pot, set on medium heat. As the broth begins to boil, it bubbles. Season with salt.
  4. Stir the cornflour in the half cup of water until it has been dissolved. Pour the cornflour-water mixture into the broth. Stir the mixture in the broth continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
  5. Cook for a few minutes until it thickens. Remove the soup from the heat.
Traditional garnish
  1. Kinteata soup is traditionally served warm or hot. To serve, season with freshly ground black pepper, garnish with minced garlic cloves, and add fresh or/and dried mint leaves. Pontic Greeks used to spice up kinteata by substituting red pepper flakes called bukovo for freshly ground black pepper.
Recipe Notes

Traditional Recipe

Kinteata nettle soup recipe is the most popular soup recipe that runs the soup spectrum of Pontic Greek cuisine. The word kinteata (κιντέατα) derives from the ancient Greek noun knidi (κνίδη) that means ‘itching’! Kinteata was especially popular among Pontic Greeks during religious fasting periods.

Notes

Nettles prefer moist areas in wildlands and they thrive in areas surrounding springs, rivers, and lakes.

Stinging nettles grow in abundance in Greece; they are best eaten in late autumn, winter, and spring before they flower.

Nettles are rich in nutrients.

In order to harvest stinging nettles from the wild, you should wear gardening gloves and use garden scissors.

Stinging nettle dried leaves and seeds are used to make herbal tea.

Gluten-free

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, and you are on a gluten-free diet, you can rest assured that kinteata soup is gluten-free.


Kinteata nettle soup

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