Syrian Yogurt Soup

Yogurt Soup
1 cup / 200 g wholegrain rice or brown rice

5 cups / 1,25 liter vegetable stock (or water)
1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
4 cups / 1 liter full fat yogurt (we use Turkish yogurt)
1 egg
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp dried mint
1 tsp salt
black pepper
 
Garlic & Chili Oil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp chili flakes 
 
To serve
2 cups /  500 ml cooked puy lentils (or chickpeas)
1 large handful fresh spinach
1 large handful fresh mint
1 large handful fresh parsley
Rinse the rice and add it to a large, thick-bottomed sauce pan along with vegetable stock and garlic. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down slightly until it simmers. Meanwhile, add yogurt and egg to a mixing bowl and whisk rapidly until combined and smooth. After the rice has cooked for about 20 minutes, add the cornstarch to the yogurt and then use a soup spoon to ladle some of the warm stock into the yogurt mixture while using your other hand to stir (this is to slowly heat the yogurt and prevent it from curdle when mixed with the rest of the stock and rice). Then pour the yogurt mixture slowly back into the large saucepan with rice and stock while stirring. Add mint, salt and black pepper. Keep the heat on low/medium, so it just barely simmers and keep stirring slowly but frequently. When the rice is cooked through and the soup has thickened slightly, it is ready. Taste and adjust the flavours to your liking (I find that it needs quite a bit of salt to balance the tanginess). Remove from the heat and prepare the Garlic & Chili Oil.
Heat oil in a small sauce pan on low/medium heat. When warm, add garlic and chili flakes, let sauté for about 45 seconds and then remove from the heat. Let steep while you ladle the soup into bowls and chop the spinach and herbs.
Top the soup with a generous scoop of lentils, chopped fresh spinach, mint, parsley and a drizzle of the Garlic & Chili Oil.

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