TARKHANABOUR – A specialty soup recipe from Sonia Tashjian

Recipes keep rolling in from my food-friend, Sonia
Tashjian. This time Sonia sent me a recipe called
“TARKHANABOUR”, (Tarkhana Soup) another
specialty of
Musa Dagh. Hers is the ‘summer version’ of an otherwise,
winter-time dish.
Tarkhanabour (Photo courtesy of Sonia Tashjian)

Here is some background information regarding
from Sonia :

“TARKHANA  is an
ingredient made in summertime, (and stored in jars for winter use). Our
villagers prepare it by boiling the matsun (yogurt), then pouring it on cracked
wheat (a kind of large bulghur used for pilaf), put salt & dried mint in
it, cover it & let it cool a whole night. Then the next day, shape it with
fingers (see photo below) & put to dry under the sun.
Tarkhana (Photo courtesy of Sonia Tashjian)
In wintertime, before preparing the soup recipe, put 5-7
pieces of tarkhana in hot water for 2 hours, then when the vegetables are
cooked, mix them in the soup, pour some tomato paste & cooked matsun (this
is also special for Musa Daghian, to cook the strained matsun, then put in the
jars for winter), continue to cook.”

The recipe which follows is the summer style tarkhanabour
which does not include the dried tarkhana.

Sonia continued:  

“The reality is we are trying to prepare the tarkhanabour
without that dried tarkhana. Because of that, our recipes are different – we
are creating the image & taste of (winter tarkhanabour).

The winter style is similar, but
contains potatoes, cabbage, onion, chick peas & beans in addition to the
dried tarkhana.

There are other kinds of tarkahana in western Armenia. They
used to prepare it with some (dried) beans, chick peas, lentils & wheat).”

Now for Sonia’s recipe…

summer version of
a Musa Daghian soup 

10 fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 carrot, 1 pepper, 1 potato, 1 onion, 1 zucchini, 1
tomato – all chopped into a similar size so they will cook evenly
½ cup large-sized bulgur (#3)
1 cup boiled matzun (yogurt) – or ½ cup sour cream
Red and black pepper, cumin and dried mint, according to
your taste
Garnish: chopped coriander leaves (also known as cilantro
or Chinese parsley)
1. Cook, over medium-high heat, the green beans, carrot,
and potato in enough water to cover the vegetables until they’re tender. Add
the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook until they soften. Do not drain
any excess liquid.
2. When the vegetables are tender, add the bulgur, matsun
(or sour cream, if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and cook for
about 15 minutes or until the bulgur is softened. Season with red and black
pepper, cumin and mint.
3. Before removing from the stove, stir in the coriander.
The end result should be soupy – and  – eaten with a spoon.
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