Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good Old Friend, Tarhana

Tarhana to me is like a reliable friend that's sitting there, waiting for me in my pantry. I may forget about it or ignore it from time to time, but everytime I get back to it, it always makes our meal special, just like good old friends do...

Tarhana is a fermented and dehydrated mix of flour, yogurt, onions, tomatoes and green peppers that is used to make tarhana soup which is one of the traditional soups in Turkish cuisine. The exact composition of tarhana and the extra ingredients added to tarhana soup differs from region to region in Turkey. Different versions of tarhana with different names or spellings are also used in other cuisines like Greek, Middle Eastern and Balkan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarhana).

Tarhana may be stored as small cakes/dough or coarse lumps/powder (see picture above). In Turkey, some people make their own tarhana at home in the form of dough, or you can find packaged tarhana in grocery stores usually in lump/powder form. I am the kind of person who prefers to buy the packaged one, but if you are interested in making your own, here's an example from Binnur's Turkish Cookbook blog: http://www.turkishcookbook.com/2006/09/tarhana-soup.php
Here in America, you may find packaged tarhana in ethnic stores; I buy mine from the online store of Best Turkish Food.

If you can get your hands on a package of tarhana, give this Tarhana Soup recipe a try; you may make yourself a new friend in the kitchen...

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