“This rich and creamy soup is inspired by the high mountain meadows in northern Turkey, where the country’s best dairy produce comes from,” says food writer Yasmin Khan. “It’s incredibly simple, quick and comforting and, as such, is on steady rotation at my house.
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“To make sure the yoghurt doesn’t split while you are cooking it, add it in stages and warm it up gently. And, as always, make sure you cook this with the best-quality full-fat natural yoghurt, as low-fat varieties simply won’t cut it, especially not in a soup like this, where the yoghurt is the star.”
For the soup:
- 85g short or medium-grain white rice (I use Turkish baldo rice, but pudding rice would also work)
- 1 litre hot chicken stock
- 500g full-fat natural yoghurt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 11/2 tablespoons cornflour
- 200ml lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 200g spinach, roughly chopped
- Salt and white pepper
For the topping:
- 40g salted butter
- 11/2 tablespoons dried mint
- 11/2 teaspoons pul biber (Aleppo pepper), or other mild chilli flakes
Rinse the rice under running cold water for a few minutes so the starch washes out, then place it in a large saucepan. Pour in the hot stock, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the rice is cooked.
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In a bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, egg yolk, cornflour and measured lukewarm water until smooth.
When the rice is cooked, take a ladleful of its cooking broth and add it to the cold yoghurt mixture, whisking as you go to warm it up. Then take the saucepan with the rice in it off the heat and very slowly, half a ladle at a time, spoon in the yoghurt mixture, whisking all the time so it doesn’t split.
Return the soup to a medium-low heat and add the mint and half a teaspoon each of salt and white pepper. Simmer for five minutes until the soup has thickened.
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Add the spinach and cook for a further five minutes, then taste to adjust the seasoning to your preference. In a separate small saucepan, melt the butter for the topping with the dried mint and pul biber.
When you are ready to serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls, drizzle a couple of teaspoons of the hot chilli-mint butter over each portion and serve immediately.
Ripe Figs: Recipes And Stories From The Eastern Mediterranean by Yasmin Khan, photography by Matt Russell, is published by Bloomsbury.
– With PA
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