Invent

K’YALAGYOSH | Armenian Yogurt Soup with Lavash Bread


 

Rural cooking in Armenia

K’yalagyosh / Քյալագյոշ is an ancient traditional Armenian dish that is made throughout almost all regions of Armenia.  This yogurt soup is also known as Chortandjash / Չորթանճաշ or Kelegyosh / քելեգյոշ in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).  In the old days, villagers used dried strained-yogurt to make this hearty soup and served it to guests early in the morning – with dried lavash bread pieces, green onions or white onion wedges and Vodka.

The recipe we are using today comes from Nakhijevan (Tigranakert) / Նախիջեւան, a historical Armenian land which currently belongs to The Republic of Azerbaijan.  Maralot’i / Մարալոթի, a local mountain herb in its dry form, is added with stewed onions at the end.  We will be using dried cilantro, thyme or mint since maralot’i only grows in Nakhijevan and some parts of bordering Vayots Dzor province.

The city of Yeghegnadzor, which is the center of Vayots Dzor province, is home to a 13th century Armenian monastery located in the narrow Amaghu Valley.  Noravank Monastery complex includes two churches, most notably Surp Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, a chapel and several surviving khachkars (Armenian cross-stones).

I have always been interested in medieval architecture and art.  Since Armenia is rich in historical sites, I hope that you do not mind if I share a couple of snapshots – these are scans of photos taken in 2002 using a 35mm film camera.  Remnants of ancient Armenia still stand despite various efforts of destruction by bordering countries to eradicate the Armenian heritage; whether for geopolitical reasons, due to hatred, or simply to put a stop to any claims by the Armenian people.

The largest collection of khachkars depicting Christian Armenian art were found in a cemetery in Jugha (Ջուղաի գերեզման), one of the famous settlements of old Armenia in Nakhijevan; now a landlocked exclave of Azerbaijan.  By 2005 the entire cemetery and its trace of Armenian history in the region was completely demolished by Azeri soldiers. “On the entire territory of Nakhichevan there existed 27,000 monasteries, churches, khachkars, tombstones and other Armenian monuments,” said historian Argam Aivazian when he last visited the site in 1987 (source: IWPR).  Recent reports show that a military training ground has been constructed on the site.

***  When you hover your mouse over the photo a pop-up box will appear with the name, description and location of site.  When you click on the photo a larger version of the photograph will open in a floating window.

The original vaulted basilica of Etchmiadzin Cathedral was built by St. Gregory the Illuminator when Armenia officially became the first Christian country in the world.

 Allright then, enough with medieval Armenian architecture, rural landscapes and Armenian churches.  Now, the recipe …

 

KYALAGYOSH | Armenian Yogurt Soup with Lavash Bread

Start with a bag of thin flatbread, like lavash, markook or saj bread and break into pieces.  Toast in a medium-low oven until crispy but not browned and set aside to cool.

Prepare soup by whisking together strained-yogurt, sour cream, egg and flour then tempering in hot water and chicken bouillon.  Then, add in sautéed onion and herb mixture, cook for a while longer and serve in a  bowl over toasted bread pieces.

 

KYALAGYOSH | ARMENIAN YOGURT SOUP WITH LAVASH BREAD

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12 oz/330 g strained-yogurt (Greek-style yogurt, lebni, labneh)
12 oz/330 g sour cream
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups boiling hot water, plus an additional 4-to-6 cups
0.37 oz/ 10.5 g chicken bouillon
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup safflower oil
14 oz onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons dried cilantro, can also use thyme or mint
lavash or markook, thin flatbread, broken into pieces and toasted crisp

In a large pot, whisk egg until homogenous, sift in flour and whisk once more until lump free.  Add in strained yogurt and sour cream and whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.  Slowly temper in two cups of boiling water as you continuously whisk. Put on a medium-low flame and bring to an almost boil; stirring occasionally. Add in remaining 4-to-6 cups of hot water and chicken bouillon. Simmer on low until thoroughly heated through.

In a separate saucepan, melt butter and oil; add onions and sauté on medium-heat until lightly golden. Add in cilantro and sauté for another minute. Add in about half a cup of the soup. Add this into the soup pot and bring once more into an almost boil; make sure to stir every now and then to avoid curdling.

Add lavash bread pieces into a bowl and ladle on hot soup. Serve with fresh bread, onions and chilled Vodka.

recipe adapted from ArmeniaNow; by Sima Badalyan and Gayane Mkrtchyan

 

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