Yogurt is widely used in Azerbaijani kitchen. Yogurt soups are especially popular. Some chilled, some warm. There is yogurt soup with fresh herbs, chickpeas and small meatballs, there is chilled yogurt soup with cucumber and there is this wonderful soup called Kelekosh we are going to make today. Honestly, I don’t remember eating Kelekosh in Azerbaijan. I only read about the soup here and there, and thought it was one of those forgotten dishes, or I don’t know what else.
All until I saw the recipe, quite by accident, in an old issue of a women’s magazine that traveled all the way to LA in the plane with my mom. Kelekosh hunted me down. I decided I should make it and I am glad I did so. The soup is delicious. Some of my American friends tried it and liked it a lot. Pick a creamy yogurt. Do not give up on stirring, this is very important. And do not overcook, or the soup will be too creamy and get darker in color (that’s what walnuts do). Serve Kelekosh with chunks of fresh bread. enjoy!
CREAMY YOGURT SOUP WITH WALNUTS, GARLIC AND MINT / KELEKOSH
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
3 cups thick and creamy plain yogurt
1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups water
1 tablespoon medium or long grain rice, picked over and rinsed
½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 gloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 ½ tablespoons dried mint
2 tablespoons butter or oil (vegetable, corn, or sunflower)
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼-teaspoon ground pepper
1. In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt and flour and mix well with spoon.
2. Add egg and beat well, then pour in water and mix.
3. Toss in rice, walnuts, garlic and mint and stir the mixture until well blended.
4. In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
5. Add yogurt mixture into the pan with onions. Keep the heat on medium and cook the soup, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is soft.
6. Cooked soup will be creamy and smooth in consistency. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper, and mix well. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with dried mint, if desired.