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Yoğurt Çorbası, or yogurt soup, has become one of my new favorite foods. Eaten hot or cold, the soup combines the creaminess of yogurt with chewy cooked wheat and dried mint. I’m guessing there are numerous variations of this recipe in Turkey–perhaps depending on region, or just a family’s particular preference–but whatever you do, you must constantly stir the yogurt as it comes to a boil (to prevent curdling) and, I’m told emphatically, do so in one direction only! I tried doing this task one-handed, while sipping a cold-brewed decaf coffee with the other and was chided by my Turkish cooking instructor: “focus!”

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Turkish Yogurt Soup with Mint

1 c uncooked hulled wheat
5 c cold water, divided in 3 c + 2 c
1 quart plain yogurt (not Greek-style)
1 egg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, diced finely
2 tbsp dried mint
salt, to taste

1. Cook the wheat: combine the wheat and 3 cups of cold water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the wheat is cooked. Let sit covered for an additional 10 minutes then transfer to a baking sheet to cool completely.

2. Place the yogurt in a large bowl; crack the egg into the yogurt and whisk to combine. Add the 2 cups of water and whisk together. Place the cooled wheat in a medium to large saucepan and add the yogurt-egg mixture and 2 c cold water. You’ll be gradually bringing the mixture to a boil and have to stir the mixture continuously in one direction until it boils. It’s very important not to stop stirring and to stir only in one direction so the mixture doesn’t curdle. Ideally you’d bring the mixture to a slow boil and this could take thirty minutes of stirring. Recently I started doing this a little sped up, on slightly higher heat, and it takes about twelve minutes of continuous stirring. Once the mixture is boiled turn the heat to a low simmer and cover.

3. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a small to medium saute pan on a medium flame. Add the onion and saute until it starts to turn golden, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the mint and cook for one minute then take off the heat. Stir this into the yogurt mixture, take the yogurt off heat. Season with salt to taste and you’re ready to eat. The soup can be served hot or cold.

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