Turkish Yogurt Soup (Yayla Chorbasi)

Just like in neighboring Azerbaijan, yogurt is an indespensable kitchen staple in Turkey, too. It is added to salads, made into sauces with garlic to scoop onto pasta dishes, used to moisten the layers of borek pies, to fix a refreshing yogurt drink, ayran, or turned into this wonderfully  light but still a filling soup called yayla corbasi.  Yayla chorbasi is somewhat similar to the Azerbaijani yogurt soup called dovgha (to be in my cookbook), with the main difference being in the herbs used- the Azerbaijani soup features a variety of fresh herbs (cilantro, dill,  spinach etc), while its Turkish counterpart is flavored with dried mint only. Both soups are delicious in their own way and I make them often to ease off the frequent yogurt craving tantrums of the family, the most scary ones coming from me.

Here’s the recipe for yayla chorbasi from my mother-in-law’s recipe collection. The soup is very easy to make and is very delicious. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Turkish Yogurt Soup (Yayla Chorbasi / Yayla Çorbas?)

Serves 4 to 5

3 cups plain yogurt
4 cup water
1 egg
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons medium grain rice (Calrose rice works)
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons finely crushed dried mint
Pinch of paprika (optional, do not overdo, or the soup’s color will be dark)
Salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine the yogurt, water, egg, flour, and rice. Do not season the soup with salt at this point or the yogurt will curdle while cooking (you will add it once the soup is cooked). Whisk until well blended and smooth and no lumps remain.

Turn the heat to medium to low, and cook, stirring constantly (very important, to prevent the yogurt from curdling) with a wooden spoon in a circular motion, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook, this time, stirring frequently but not constantly until the rice is tender to bite. Remove the soup from the heat.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small frying pan. When it begins to sizzle, immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the dried mint and if using,paprika, to it. Stir for about half a minute then pour the mixture into the soup. Stir. Season the soup with salt, to taste.

Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls and serve immediately, with bread.

Variation: A variaton of yayla soup calls for chickpeas. If opting for this version, presoak ¼ cup dried chickpeas in water for a few hours, then boil until tender. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the already cooked soup. You can also use canned chickpeas – about 1/2 cup or more to taste. Rinse them and add to the cooked soup. Remove the skins of the chickpeas by squeezing them between your fingers – the skins will peel right off .

Your Comment

19 Comments
  1. A wonderful soup! So refined. Turkish food is awesome.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Hi Feride, welcome back! This is one of my favorite soups; so comforting. I noticed in your recipe that you cook rice along with soup. I always cook the rice beforehand (http://almostturkish.blogspot.com/2007/01/yogurt-soup-yayla-orbas.html) Now I want to try you in-law’s recipe to see how it goes without cooking the rice. I read that traditionally yogurt soup was served with tarragon in the palace (and it tastes really good with it), but now as you said the soup is labeled with dry mint flakes.

  3. Ficou com uma aspecto perfeito! A cozinha Turca é muito rica mesmo.

    Beijos

  4. Yogurt soup looks so nice.

  5. Wonderful soup. I bet it tastes so good!

  6. Thanks Farida! Indeed very similar to dovga , waiting for that recepy with impatinece. Sure everyone will like that one as well – even more may be :-) One of my favourite soups!

  7. The soup looks delicious! It is one of my favorite soups.

    When I was reading the ingredients, i ‘ve seen that you used 3 tablespoons of flour, isn’t that to much? I think your soup has become very thick? I’m using only 1 tablespoon for this amount.

  8. Feridecim, ellerine sa?l?k, en sevdi?im çorbalardan birisidir.
    Sevgilerimle

  9. Ferida, you are just wonderful.

    The other day, made azerbaijani paxlava and my spanish friends were absolutely amazed by it :) Thanks to you. xxxxx

    I have put your blog in my blog list (my blog is in catalan unfortunatly would be difficult to read for many readers I suppose).

    But, again million thanks for your thorough and delicious posts!

    Lale

  10. I love the many, many uses of yoghurt. This soup sounds absolutely delicious…now if only the weather would cooperate and cool down so that soup season can actually start!

  11. Yayla corbasi is one of the soups we make so often in winter. Also, mom used to make it when I feel sick. that was the only thing I could eat. It absolutely helps your stomach recover.
    And yours looks great just how I like it.

  12. This sounds absolutely delicious! I adore yogurt and use it often in my cooking as well. I think the Azerbaijani and Turkish people know what they are doing! :)

  13. Thank you for all your comments:)

  14. Very cute bowl of soup. Try to make it with kefir instead – kefir adds depth to soups. I make my own kefir – here is a recipe for you http://cuceesprouts.com/2010/10/fermenting-experimenting/

  15. I am forever grateful for your inspiration and the confidence to make my own yogurt at home. Thank you.

  16. Hi Farida! Thank you for the recepie. I tried it today and my husband loved it. He said it made him feel like he was in Azerbaijan.

  17. selam
    elinize sa?l?k.yayla çorbas?n?n üzerine kekik te çok yak???yor.türkiyeden sevgiler…