I wrote on AZ Cookbook facebook page that the epitome of spring and summer in Azerbaijan was coming soon to my blog. I gave a hint, alright, that it was going to be a soup. Most people guessed it right! Dovgha! Yes, it is dovgha, a popular Azerbaijani yogurt soup cooked with lots of fresh herbs!

I  was saving this recipe for my yet to be published (big sigh) cookbook, but since publishers are not knocking on my door (if you are a publisher, write me) or have been rejecting my knockings, and because I am a nice girl (modesty thing again), I am letting the recipe out before the book is out. Not that the recipe is a grand secret, but there are some tips that one should be armed with if aiming for a perfect dovgha, and I will gladly share them with you.

Dovgha has it all to be sought after. A creamy soup, it is generously nutritious, pleasantly refreshing and flavorsome from the bounty of fresh herbs simmered in yogurt, with a good doze of tender bite provided by the chickpeas, which by the way, can be omitted if you are not a big fan of them. I personally like my dovgha with chickpeas. In Azerbaijani countryside, dovgha is particularly delicious; in place of generally known fresh herbs listed in the recipe below, copious varieties of intensely aromatic edible herbs populating the lush fields and mountains, far from the reach of city dwellers, find their way into the soup, making it extra delectable.

How is dovgha served? Typically, chilled dovgha is served ladled into traditional deep individual bowls called kasa that are placed next to serving plates. It is up to you whether to enjoy dovgha as a starter soup before the main course arrives, or afterwards, to wash down a hearty meal. Dovgha is also great as a stand-alone light meal. Serve dovgha either chilled or at a room temperature, always with chunks of bread on the side.

Here’s the recipe with all the right tips you need to succeed in dovgha making. Also, check out my blogger friend Sofya’s (who hails from Baku too) for her dovgha recipe with some fantastic photos.

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My friend Victoria (remember her?) knows I am always on the lookout for great recipes to share with you. Not that I don’t have enough recipes in the house (this reminds me I have to organize them nicely – currently they live in a state of total mess) but I want unusual recipes and these kinds do not come by very often. So, one day Victoria called and said she had received a very unusual (key word!) recipe from her niece in Ukraine and that she thought it could be just right to feed my insatiable hunger for recipes. I grew impatient and wanted to get my hands on the recipe as soon as possible. Victoria added that it was a pie but not your regular pie, that it was one of a kind pie, and that she had already made it once, and that it was absolutely mind-blowing and palate-blowing, and that she had never seen anything like that before, and that it tasted like nothing else out there, and that the recipe was not known to many, and that if I wanted we could make it together.

“What? Really? Wait, we are coming.” The kids and I piled into the car right away and  off we drove to Victoria’s house which, luckily, is only 5 minutes from us. The “cooks” got down to business as soon as we arrived. While kids we going crazy in the background, Victoria and I baked 2 thin cheesy layers that we cut in half and filled with generous amounts of ground turkey (you can also use ground chicken – in fact, the original recipe calls for chicken)  then off we sent the assembled pie into the oven.

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