Tarhana is a famous traditional Turkish thick soup made up of flour or cracked wheat, vegetables, and yoghurt, which are first fermented and then dried, before adding milk, water or stock to form the soup. This Turkish dish is known by several other names in different cuisines, for e.g. Trahanas in Greek cuisine, tarkhāneh, tarkhīneh, or tarkhwāneh in Persian cuisine, trahana in Albanian cuisine, and kishk in Egyptian cuisine. The dish is sold in the form of small cakes, which can be stored in refrigerator, to be used later for preparation and consumption.
Tarhana Recipe- Ingredients Used and Preparation Process
The ingredients used in the preparation of this tarhana include sour milk or yogurt, flour, salt, spices and cooked vegetables like green pepper, onions and tomatoes.
All the ingredients are mixed together and allowed to ferment before the mix is dried, ground and sieved. The fermentation process produces various compounds, including lactic acid, which help in maintaining good properties of the dish, while producing distinctive sour taste. The resultant powder is then used to prepare thick soup by adding milk, water or stock.
Fermented Tarhana Variations
The dish may vary in terms of ingredients used in the preparation process.The dish is famous in those countries where fresh food is available in abundance. A few variations of tarhana are given here:
- The famous Turkish dish consists of yogurt, vegetables, wheat flour, and yeast as the essential ingredients.
- In Greece, the dish is made up of fermented milk and cracked wheat.
- In Cyprus, the dish contains haloumi cheese. Here the dish is regarded to be a nationalized specialty.
- In Albania, yogurt and wheat flour are made into small chunks (like pasta), dried, and then crushed in the form of powder, which is used for preparing soup. Milk or water is added to the powder for making the thick soup. In this region, tarhana is often served along with small bread cubes.
Nutritional Information about Fermented Tarhana
The fermentation process reduces the pH level to 3.4-4.2, and the drying process helps in reducing the moisture level to 6%-10%, hence helping to fight against unfriendly organisms. Also, the protein content present in the milk would be retained after the fermentation and drying process. The protein content may vary according to the amount of milk or yogurt used in the preparation of the soup. The higher the quantity of milk or yogurt used in the preparation of this thick soup, the higher would be the protein content. Usually tarhana contains an average of15% protein, hence making the dish a high protein dietetic supplement.