What is Tarhana Çorbası?

Like any good 25% Lithuanian person would do, I eat rye bread, which is a bit of a task to find in the UK. Fortunately for me I have a continental grocery store only a couple blocks away. Now, what the heck is the difference between a continental grocery store and a British one?

First off, British stores (Tesco, Waitrose, Iceland, Asda, Lidl, etc.) generally look like American stores based solely on organization and appearance. They have white florescent lights, things are scanned with barcodes, and the floors get cleaned multiple times a day. Continental stores on the other hand take a more, for lack of a better word, continental feel. And by continental it is meant the rest of Europe and usually Turkey. The lights are yellow and dingy, the produce is outside at the front, usually each item has a little yellow sticker on it with the price, and you have the added bonus of not knowing exactly what is dodgy and what is safe. It’s so much fun!

This week I had to settle for Polish bread instead of Baltic since they were out, but I picked up something foreign on my way through the aisles. Tarhana Çorbası. Now, it’s evident that this is some kind of soup. How to make this soup is simply beyond my language capabilities. A quick wikipedia search tells me that this is widely eaten (drank?) in Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Greece, Bulgaria, and Albania and that it’s made from a fermented mixture of grain, which doesn’t really tell me anything.

From the instruction panel on the back I could gather that I’m supposed to add 1 litre of soğuk suya ekleyelim. Hmmm. How did humanity ever  get by without google translate? It means cold water. But wait, I thought this was soup? Next instruction: Kaynayana kadar karıştıralım. Keep boiling until. Until what, exactly? Next instruction: 10 dakika bu şekilde pişirdikten sonra. Bake for 10 minutes this way and serve. Bake bake? or boil bake? Is it even possible to bake soup?

Somehow I made it look edible, no thanks to those instructions, and the verdict is…….. Delicious, and perfect with a piece of buttered bread. Good luck saving the leftovers though, mine turned into jelly! Yuck.

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