Preparing a traditional fermented tarhana

Tarhana is a traditional staple soup in Turkey.

There is no exact information about tarhana, but it was created by Cental Asian Turks as a way of preserving yogurt before the invention of refrigerator. Then it was brought to Anatolia by Selçuk Turks. During the Ottoman Empire it is enterd to Balkan countries.

Tarhana is said to be an oldest instant soup.

There is a legend in Turkey  about the word of tarhana. Once upon a time the Sultan was a guest at a home of a poor peasant family. The only food they have for the Sultan was a simple soup. The peasant’s wife embarrasingly said that all they offer him is a ‘dar hane soup’ (meaning poor house soup- literally narrow house). In this way, the dar hane soup became known as tarhana soup.

The coral coloured tarhana grains are prepared in summer with hot summer sun and served at every meal from breakfast to supper, during winter.

Various herbs and spices can be used in tarhana including the special tarhana herb.

  • 3 kg long red peppers (de-seeded and julien cut)
  • 2 kg tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 kg onion
  • 1.5 kg strained yogurt
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • salt
  • 1,75 kg flour
  • Slice onions into rings.

    In a large cauldron put the onion rings. Add cubed tomatoes and julien cut red peppers.

    Place dill and parsley. Springle with salt and cook until it boils. After boiling, simmer until all the ingredients are very tender (about an hour).

    Take out the dill and the parsley bunches. Let cool.

    Pass through a blender.

    In a large bowl put the flour. Make a hole in the center and place the yogurt and mashed vegetables.

    Mix and knead well. Make a dough.

    Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it stay overnight to fermentate. If it stays more than a day, it will be very sour.

    Divide the dough into walnut sized pieces. Spread out them on a clean tissue cloth to dry.

    Let dry them under the sun in an airy place. Upside down during the drying process.

    Leave in the sun for at least 5 days to be dried completely.

    Sieve with a food processor and store in glass container or in gauze bags.

    You don’t have to wait to come winter to make a tarhana soup. You can immediately consume it with gusto.

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