Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dovga - the buttermilk soup that could

Our first morsel of delectable goodness comes from the small nation of Azerbaijan, where food is heavenly and corruption widespread.  This is not a political blog, though, so we'll avoid the latter and focus on the former.

Dovga, pronounced "dohv-gah," is a hearty buttermilk soup made with greens and other goodness.  It can be served hot, warm or cold, and can be eaten with a spoon or sipped out of a glass.  Quite the versatile little soup, eh?

Also, unconfirmed reports claim that it helps to prevent scurvy.

The Recipe:

Dovga - Buttermilk soup with greens and rice

- 1 gallon of Kefir (cultured milk) - it's thicker than buttermilk, and thus better in every way
- 1 big bunch flat parsley
- 1 big bunch curly parsley
- 1 big bunch cilantro
- 2 bunches (medium or larger) dill
- 1 bunch mint (LEAVES ONLY)
- 2-3 bunches scallions
- 2 handfuls (about 1 1/4 cups) rice
- 1 generous Tbsp flour
- 1 egg
- 2 very generous Tbsp. sour cream or Greek yogurt (the thick kind)
- 2 tsp. salt

Finely chop the greens and set aside.  In a large pot, combine rice, flour, egg, and salt, mix thoroughly.  Add sour cream, Kefir, and slowly stir in about 1.5-2 liters (about 6-7 cups) of water until mixture gets to desired consistency (you don't want it too watery, but if you make it too thick your arm will fall off).

Note: if you can't find Kefir, you can substitute regular buttermilk - just be forewarned: as buttermilk is not as thick, you will need more of it (about 5-6 cups more), and you shouldn't add any water to the mixture.


Put the pot over medium-high heat and, with a long-handled spoon (preferably wooden), stir non-stop until the mixture comes to a boil (30-40 minutes).
Lower the heat a little and, still stirring, let boil for 2-3 minutes (allowing the rice to cook through better).
While stirring, add in the chopped greens.  Stirring, bring the mixture back to a boil (about 15-20 minutes).  Let boil for about 1 minute (stirring slowly), and turn off.

Let cool to non-blazing temperatures before serving.  Salt to taste.

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