Yogurt is an essential component of Turkish cuisine. That said, it is only natural that this week for Soup Month, we put the spotlight on the delicious yogurt soup – or as it is better known in Turkish "yayla çorbası" (literally "highland soup"). Towns across Turkey claim this dish as their own, but given the number of regional variations, all with their own unique twist, they might all be right.
Although its exact origins are unknown, "yayla soup" is thought to have originated in the highlands, which the soup is named after. In the old days, it was difficult to keep milk fresh so it was turned into yogurt as soon as possible. The highlands were the perfect place to store such goods as they were cooler than the rest of the city.
90 grams wheat
170 grams chickpeas
1 kilogram yogurt
1 tablespoon of flour (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of butter
Salt, dried mint and other spices to taste
Leave the chickpeas to rest in hot water overnight, or boil them until they start to soften. Boil the wheat for around 1.5 hours in one liter of water before adding the yogurt.
It is pivotal to constantly stir the mix, adding flour in intervals if thickness is needed. You can then add the softened chickpeas and let the soup boil for a few minutes before turning off the stove. Melt the butter in a separate pan before adding dried mint leaves, marinating them for around a minute. You can also add other spices, such as red pepper flakes if you'd like it to be spicier. Pour the buttery sauce on top, add a little salt and give it a final stir. Your highland soup is ready to enjoy!
*Instead of wheat you can also use rice to shorten the cooking time and make it gluten-free.
*If you do not like chickpeas, you can skip them! But adding them to this recipe increases the protein content and gives the soup an interesting texture, which is always desirable.