Turkish Yogurt Soup with Mint
This summer soup recipe is a perfect option for when the temperatures go up and you want to cool down. Called “Yayla Çorbası” in Turkish, this Turkish yogurt soup with mint is a traditional recipe made with tangy yogurt, cooling mint, and pearl barley.
How to Make Soup
I absolutely love making soup, even in the summer months. While soup seems like a complicated thing to make, this recipe really couldn’t be any easier. Most soups start by gently cooking the aromatics in fat to create a flavor base. In this summer soup recipe, onions are cooked in butter or olive oil (your choice), and then the remaining ingredients are added. When choosing a yogurt for this soup, be sure to use a European style or “runny” yogurt for this recipe, you don’t want Greek yogurt or yogurt with any stabilizers added, as they tend to do funny things when heated. Straus Family Creamery is one of my favorite brands, and Trader Joe’s also carries European style yogurt.
What is Pearl Barley?
I use pearl barley in this summer soup recipe because I love the texture. Pearl barley is barley that has had its outer hull removed, and is available at a well-stocked grocery store or through Bob’s Red Mill. Pearl barley is a great addition to soups, delicious to use in pilafs, and its chewy texture is absolutely crave-able, I assure you! If you don’t have pearl barley, brown rice or white rice can be used. With white rice, the cooking time will be shorter.
This recipe uses ‘garden mint’ or spearmint, which is a mild form of mint. I use fresh mint in recipes all the time, like this one and this one. Mint is also really easy to dry. You can just leave sprigs of mint spread out on a large plate or sheet tray on your counter for a few days, and it will naturally dry. Once brittle to touch, just crumble it into a small jar, and use in this recipe, or to make mint tea. This recipes uses dried mint in the beginning (although it’s optional), and finishes with a fresh mint sprinkle at the end.
Turkish Yogurt Soup with Mint
- 1 medium onion
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon dried mint (optional)
- 5 cups chicken broth*
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (amount will vary, depending on sodium content of broth)
- 2 cups European style yogurt
- 3 sprigs fresh mint for garnish
- Finely dice onion. Heat butter or oil in a medium-sized soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and sweat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Do not brown during this time. If onion starts to brown, turn down heat. Add dried mint and cook for 1 minute.
- Add broth and bring to a boil, then add barley and salt. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, until barley is cooked through. Turn off heat.
- Put yogurt in a 4 cup liquid measuring cup or bowl. Add some warm broth from the soup into the yogurt to temper it. Stir until evenly mixed, and add the yogurt mixture slowly back to the soup. Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh mint leaves.