The classic cold summer soup has entered a revolutionary era
Summer is in full swing, and with it, the thought of summer heat conjures up images of fresh and mild flavors, but also a bit spicy, with cucumber and garlic. What more, than a tarator?
In the late 1950s, the legendary poet Trendafil Akatiev’s quartet became especially popular among students.
What a shame! What a shame!
they served me very well,
Without milk, cucumber and water,
The terror of freedom.
It seems that the main question about tarator at the time was what could be done without tarator and still is. It can do without everything or almost everything. Because Tarator is a great idea. Today, however, tarator is something else. There are other questions floating around. And the most important thing is what else can be added to the tarator and still remain the tarator. The freedom of interpretation opens new and new possibilities, new horizons for this classic cold Bulgarian summer soup.
The internet is full of recipes for new versions of tarator. In some of them, in addition to the classic ingredients (yoghurt, cucumber, fennel, garlic, walnuts and olive oil) an extra has been added, and in others, individual ingredients have been replaced by something unusual. In addition, there is controversy about the preparation itself – whether the walnuts are roasted or raw, whether the olive oil should be added at the beginning or at the end. Some modern versions may add ground dry fenugreek. Others add a dash of stret jojen or black pepper as a secret ingredient.
There are also quirky ideas for a tarator of grated carrots or with nettles instead of cucumbers or cucumbers pre-soaked in ouzo. Finely chopped stalks of celery can also be added, although some find it gross. A version with avocado instead of cucumber would definitely be interesting. There are also versions with boiled eggs and cheese. Since yogurt is not always sour and the balanced flavor of a good tarator needs acid, some people add vinegar to it. But another trick can be applied. Dilute the milk with carbonated water. It gives a slightly spicy taste. And that’s hardly the end of the tarator’s development. I suspect a strawberry tarator could also be made. Thus, the dish would move from the soup area to the dessert area.
The history of the Tarator in Bulgarian lands goes back to the Late Middle Ages. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Western travelers who traveled through our territories often mentioned a similar dish. They call it “Oxigala” and describe it as yogurt mixed with water and garlic. In most Balkan and Eastern countries there are some local variations, for example, tzatziki salad in Greece. In Turkey, it is called tarator jadzuk, and tarator is a sauce made of garlic, yogurt and chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds). fish.
The word “Tarator” itself is Persian, which is why historians believe that the dish itself was brought to our lands from Persia, and along the way, and even more so with time, it underwent certain changes and developments. Thus, Tarator became Bulgarian, although it is known throughout the Balkans, and even Cyprus. In Nayden Gerov’s dictionary, the word “tarator” is explained as “a cold soup of cucumber, garlic, walnuts and vinegar”. In Iran, a similar cold soup of yogurt, cucumber, garlic and black pepper is prepared today, but instead of they add dill and fresh ginger, and sometimes they also add walnuts and raisins.
In old recipes from different parts of Bulgaria, different variants of tarator are found. In the past, in some places, they used water and vinegar instead of milk, in others they put bread or lettuce. Time has ironed out these differences, and gradually in the 1960s a common standard described above emerged. The democratic processes introduced a small innovation – tarator appeared in a cup. Today, we are clearly living in a revolutionary time, as Geo Milev would say, and this can be felt in certain processes related to the tarator. The world was clearly not finished and perfected by God, so it continues to change and develop.
Tarator with carrots
Products: 300 g of yogurt, 100 g of carrots, 1 clove of garlic, 3 tbsp. oil, 2 spoons. finely chopped dill, salt, walnuts.
Carrots are added to grated and crushed garlic and finely chopped dill. Add the oil and mix. Yoghurt is mixed with a little water and salt. Cover the carrots and add the chopped walnuts.
Tarator with cucumbers and egg yolks
Products: 2 cucumbers, 400 g yogurt, 2 eggs, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tablespoon. vinegar, water, dill, salt.
Peeled cucumbers are cut into small cubes. Peel the hard-boiled eggs, separate the yolks and make a puree. Yoghurt, crushed garlic, vinegar, salt, a little water, finely chopped dill, salt and olive oil are added to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Finally, add the cucumbers and stir.
Tarator with avocado and cucumbers
Products: 3 avocados, 1 cucumber, 800 g yogurt, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, salt, black pepper, a sprig of parsley, a sprig of green onion, 6 peeled and cooked prawns, olive oil, 1 tablespoon of sesame.
Peel the cucumber and cut it into cubes. Peeled and mashed avocado, adding lemon juice and yogurt. Season with crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Cucumber and olive oil are added and the soup is served garnished with finely chopped green onions, parsley and shrimp.
Products: 400 g of cucumber, 6-8 cloves of garlic, 2 slices of white bread, 40 ml of vegetable oil, 40 ml of vinegar, 1 bunch of dill, salt.
Mince the garlic with salt. Half of the bread is crushed. Peel the cucumbers and finely chop them. Finely chopped fennel is then mixed with vegetable oil, vinegar, crushed garlic, bread and cold water.
Products: 2 slices of white bread, 10 cloves of garlic, 150 g of walnuts, 20 ml of vegetable oil, salt, vinegar.
Pre-soaked bread is crushed in cold water. Add the crushed walnuts along with the garlic and salt and vegetable oil. Mix and dilute with cold water.
Products: 300 g of cucumber, 1 lettuce, 8-10 cloves of garlic, 50 g of crushed walnuts, 40 ml of vegetable oil, 20 ml of vinegar, 1 bunch of dill, salt to taste.
Cucumber, lettuce and dill are finely chopped, mixed with crushed garlic, vinegar and salt, then poured with cold water. Before serving, sprinkle with chopped walnuts.