Cracked Barley, Yoghurt & Mint Soup (Akdene Çorbasi)
This lesser-known Turkish recipe is a popular soup in Kastamonu, Turkey. Its main ingredients are cracked barley, yoghurt and mint. This recipe is easy to prepare and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes! If you like mild, creamy and refreshing soups, then you'll love this recipe!
It doesn’t matter how old we are – the memory of our grandmother’s cooking is most likely to take us right back to our childhood. This is definitely one of those dishes that take me back to my childhood. This soup was one of my favourites when I was a child and my grandmother would always make it for me when I'd visit her in Turkey. It seems almost impossible to travel these days with all the travel restrictions in place, and it seems I won’t be visiting my grandmother any time soon, so I thought I’d attempt to create a vegan version of this soup using my grandmother’s traditional recipe. I substituted some ingredients for vegan alternatives, and I’m pleased to say it tasted just as good, if not better! I’m just hoping my grandmother doesn’t read this part! :D
OTHER NAMES FOR AKDENE CORBASI
This soup is one of the lesser known Turkish soup recipes so it’s likely that most people will have not heard of it before. It’s commonly called ‘Akdene Çorbası’ but in other parts of Turkey it is also known as ‘Arpa çorbası’ or ‘Arpa Yarması’, which translates as barley soup.
WHAT IS CRACKED BARLEY AND WHERE TO FIND IT
Cracked barley is hulled barley kernels which have been broken into smaller pieces. This grain is high in nutrients, protein and fibre and has lower in soluble carbohydrates than almost all other whole grains. Cracked barley can be found in most health food stores and Turkish or Middle Eastern supermarkets.
Three of the ingredients in the traditional recipe for this soup are not vegan: Yogurt, eggs and butter. For the yogurt substitution I used my favourite vegan plain yogurt from The Coconut Collaborative. I find that some plain vegan yogurts can be a little on the sweet side, so which ever brand you use, make sure that it is one that has a more savoury taste. I used Flora plant butter for this recipe, but any vegan butter will do. For the egg substitute, I used aquafaba (the brine from a can of chickpeas). I found that adding the aquafaba gave the soup a silkier consistency and helped to bind the vegan yogurt with the rest of the ingredients.
TIPS FOR MAKING AKDENE CORBASI
Keep whisking – it’s important to whisk the soup for a few minutes after adding the flour and yogurt mixture - this will create a smoother consistency and prevent any lumps from forming.
Serve right away – This soup tastes delicious the next day, however it has a tendency to thicken in the fridge, so if you want to serve it at its best, then serve as soon as its cooked.
Adjust the seasoning as you go along – Taste a bit of the soup once the cracked barley has cooked through– I’d recommend you start will less and then add more salt if you need to.
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
130g cracked barley (3/4 cup)
600ml hot water (2 ½ cups)
350ml warm water (1 ½ cups)
360g vegan yoghurt (1 ½ cups)
230ml Aquafaba (1cup)
1.5 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp vegan butter
2 tsp dried mint
1/4 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes
1.5 tsp salt, to taste
juice of half a lemon
HOW TO MAKE AKDENE CORBASI
Thoroughly rinse the cracked barley with cold water. Place the barley in a large pot with 600ml of hot water and cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes, until the barley has softened. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 350ml of lukewarm water & the chickpea brine. Leave the mixture cool down for a few minutes.
In the meantime, add the yoghurt, 1.5 tbsp of plain flour and 3 tbsp of the hot water from the cooked barley to a bowl & stir until thoroughly combined.
STEP 3:Add the yoghurt and flour mixture to the pot with the cooked barley and whisk until the soup has thickened and the yoghurt and barley are thoroughly combined.
Melt the butter in a saucepan & add the dried mint & chilli flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes on a low heat until you start to smell the aroma of the dried mint infusing with the butter. Whisk the melted butter, mint and chilli mixture into to soup, stir in the salt and lemon juice and serve.