Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yogurt Soup (Yayla Corbasi)


Here's another popular classic from Turkish cuisine where yogurt is a real staple. We not only use yogurt as a condiment, a side dish or an ingredient for appetizers, we also cook and bake with it.

The exact translation of this soup's name is "Plateau Soup". In the old days when refrigeration was not available, it was difficult to keep milk fresh and it was therefore turned into yogurt as soon as possible. Plateaus were cool and consequently the best yogurt could be found in these high plateaus.

Give this unique soup a try... Who knows, you may become a yogurt lover for life...
I obtained this recipe from another great food blog called Binnur's Turkish Cookbook and have slightly revised it to my liking.

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

  • 6 cups chicken/beef/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup rice, washed and drained
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  
Directions:

  • In a pot, bring the stock to a boil over medium-high heat, add the rice and cook until the rice is soft (this will take about 20-25 minutes).
  • In the meantime, in a bowl, mix yogurt, milk, egg yolk, flour and dried mint until smooth.
  • After the rice is cooked, pour a few ladles of the stock into the yogurt mixture in the bowl.
  • Lower the heat and add the mixture in the bowl slowly into the stock/rice in the pot, stirring slowly to mix.
  • Cook/simmer for 10 more minutes on low heat, stirring from time to time. Taste and add salt, if necessary (For me personally, the salt amount of the stock is enough, so I do not add more salt). Turn off the heat.
  • Optional: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When it starts foaming and sizzling, add the red pepper flakes and saute them for 1 minute, until they infuse the butter with their flavor and color (do not burn them!). Pour into the soup and mix.

Additional points:
  • This is supposed to be a delicate, creamy soup. Do not skip the step of adding a few ladles from the soup into the cold mixture in the bowl -which is called "tempering". If you add the yogurt mixture into the hot stock all at once, the yogurt curdles, the egg turns into scrambled egg and you will have lumps of mixture in the soup...Who wants a soup like that?..
  • It's also important not to boil the soup any longer, after you add the yogurt mixture into the stock, since this will also cause the yogurt to separate.
  • The last step of adding butter and red pepper flakes is optional. But this is a very traditional finishing touch for soups in Turkish cuisine. In fact, my mother-in-law says "Cooking is not finished, until the butter sizzles"...:))

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