Here’s a gastronomical challenge for the sugar-conditioned American palate: ayran! I’ve imbibed great quantities of this wonderful, tangy, thick, refreshing yogurt drink in both my native Azerbaijan and in Bulgaria, where, if you remember, I went to college and met my husband. Consider it the upside of the Turkish yoke.
Ayran is simply a mixture of yogurt and water. In Azerbaijan people usually add salt to it, while in Bulgaria, at least in my experience, they don’t. I like it both ways. I find it to be a great accompaniment to grilled meats and fried potatoes (I usually serve both together, anyway), among other things, and my kids just love it on its own. Which is also the reason why there aren’t any pictures – it disappears before I get the chance to grab my camera. Make it today and see what it looks like for yourselves!
A Yogurt Drink
Makes 1 quart
- 2 C plain yogurt
- 2 C water (or to taste)
- salt to taste, if using
Whisk yogurt until completely smooth (or beat it with a fork to the same effect). Pour in cold water in a thin stream, whisking constantly. You want it to be very smooth. Add salt to taste, if using. Don’t add any ice.
Variation: For a sweet twist, skip the salt and add fruit syrup to it instead – I always have some sitting around that I make with my black raspberries or elderberries. That’s also what I use when my daughter wants some sweet, flavored yogurt for a change – gives it a beautiful magenta color, too.