yogurt mint soup (with kibbeh)
This is a favorite and regular dish in the Sark household and always eaten with the
bulgur wheat meat-filled kibbeh footballs. The soup is easy. The kibbeh, if done
traditionally, require skills that dr bob could not pick up in one sitting, while ani
refuses to get involved with it because of the labor intensive process of forming the
little suckers, so we have to rely on Isgouhi for this treat. The combination of the
yogurt mint flavor and the kibbeh is exceptional, so an alternative solution to this
problem must be found.
- 2 c water
- 1/2 c Carolina extra long grain rice
- pinch salt
- 16 oz (1 lb = 454g) yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 lemon, juice of
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 - 3 c water (about equal to the amount of yogurt)
- 2 t dried mint
- 1 t salt (or to taste)
- 2 T butter (1/4 stick)
- kibbeh (separate recipe below [still to do] or purchase the little suckers at an Armenian
food store, if you can find one)
or use some kind of tortellini instead
- Boil the rice in water with a pinch of salt until the rice is softened, about 15
- Wisk together the yogurt, egg, salt and juice of 1/2 lemon until smooth.
- Stir the yogurt mixture into the rice with the additional water and stir over high heat
until it boils (about 10 minutes). It is important to keep stirring slowly
so the yogurt mixture does not "break" (curdle), which ruins the dish.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the mint, butter and salt, and continue boiling
another 5 minutes.
- Taste. If the yogurt is not tart enough (storebought versus homemade), add the remaining
juice of 1/2 lemon.
- Add the kibbeh (whether raw or baked) or the kibbeh substitute to the yogurt soup, bring to a boil and continue
boiling about 10 minutes.
- Serve 2 or 3 kibbeh per bowl in the yogurt soup.
- Remove the uneaten kibbeh from the soup before storing leftovers in the refrigerator to
prevent them from thickening the yogurt soup and absorbing too much of the yogurt soup in
return. Return the kibbeh to the yogurt soup to reheat.
- The grains of rice should lose their identity in the soup, so one needs a long grain
rice which will do that.
- Apparently kibbeh is one of the most typical Lebanese foods, so there is some hope of
finding them made fresh in Middle Eastern or Armenian specialty food stores.
One can find a few Lebanese cooking sites to read up on these little bulgur
meat balls [ArabNet
- Here is a sheet of them just removed from the oven, and then swimming in the yogurt soup, and a couple of serving
shots:  .
- The flat sheet version of kibbeh will
ultimately prove to be our unskilled solution to this problem.
- Kibbeh free yogurt soup.
One alternative to the kibbeh problem is to use any kind of tortellini
(filled pasta) instead. For example, in the Middle East all the way out to
Afghanistan one finds mini-meat-filled tortellini called
manti which work quite well
in this soup. They are often served with melted butter and yogurt, but one
rarely reads about serving them in the Armenian yogurt (mahdzoon, matzdoon)
soup, although this is what the Middle Eastern Armenians and their diaspora
do. bob's sister-in-law scored some frozen manti in a Persian food store
near Baltimore and passed it on. Makes a real fulfilling winter comfort
food. Vegetarians (sorry vegans, maybe one could experiment with "soy
yogurt") can use any kind of cheese-filled dumplings or tortellini instead
(vegans: soy cheese?).
- All illustrations.