Grain & Legumes

Armenian Madzoon Abour (Yogurt Soup)

Doug and I are supposed to be on a bus trip today from our
new community in SC to Lake Lure, NC. The idea of seeing the fall leaves, taking
a boat ride on the lake, followed by lunch with a view of the lake sounded idyllic
when we agreed to go a few weeks ago.

What a boat ride on Lake Lure, NC looks like on a lovely day.

Enter Mother Nature … She’s dumping rain throughout the
Carolinas – all day – with temperatures in the 40’s (50’s, if we’re lucky). NOT
our idea of a good time outdoors. 

Much to our disappointment, we cancelled. We decided that, at our
age, comfort and safety are more important than traveling for hours in a bus,
then sitting on a wet boat.

To appease ourselves, we decided it’s a great day for soup.
The one that will soothe and satisfy us is traditional Armenian Madzoon Abour (Yogurt
Soup) – also known as Spas, in some regions.

We’ll re-visit Lake Lure some other time.

Armenian Madzoon Abour (Yogurt Soup) with Lavash (Image from Hannaford; mine isn’t done cooking yet!)

Armenian Madzoon Abour (Yogurt Soup)

Yield: about 4 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced 

1 medium garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoon Italian, flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (1 tsp. – or to taste – dried
mint may be substituted)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 cup hulled whole wheat berries, (dzedzadz) – sold in
Middle eastern stores (NOTE: 1 cup quick-cooking pearl barley may be

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (chicken broth may be

2 cups plain yogurt, (low-fat or full-fat yogurt may be
used – NOT Greek-style)

NOTE: Purists only use yogurt; no
broth! In which case you’d add 5 cups.
Garnish: Paprika, fresh mint leaves
or dried mint, optional


1. If using whole wheat berries (dzedzadz), cook them in 3 cups of
water until tender to the tooth. Drain and cool. Set aside until it is added in
step #3.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion
and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently until softened, about 3 minutes. Add
parsley, mint, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Add broth. (NOTE: If using
quick-cooking barley, add it now.)

3. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring
occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes or until soup just comes to a simmer. Remove
from heat and let soup cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in yogurt. (NOTE:
If using cooked wheat berries from step 1, add it now.) Heat over medium heat
until warmed through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir well.

4. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika and fresh or dried
mint, if desired.

Serve immediately with Lavash!

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