Robyn Eckhardt documents Turkey’s expansive cuisine from all regions in Istanbul & Beyond.
Refreshing and soothing to the stomach, Turkey’s yogurt drink, which is similar to an Indian lassi, is the best thirst quencher I know. It’s especially tasty as made in Diyarbakır, flavored with fresh herbs and cucumber. I drink it for breakfast and as a late-afternoon pick-me-up. It’s a classic accompaniment to meaty dishes like sautéed beef with caramelized onions and Urfa peppers. Turks like the drink very salty; I’ve reduced the amount of salt to suit non-Turkish palates. You can substitute other herbs— chervil, tarragon, dill, and/or scallion greens—for the mint and purple basil.
- Whisk the yogurt and water together in a pitcher or large bowl. Add the salt and stir to dissolve.
- Tie the herb sprigs together with kitchen twine. Submerge the herbs and cucumber pieces in the yogurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, and up to 48 hours.
- Remove the herbs and cucumber from the yogurt mixture, squeezing them over the pitcher or bowl to release as much liquid as possible, and discard. Taste and adjust for salt if necessary. Whisk or froth the drink briefly in a blender before serving in tall chilled glasses. Ice is optional.
Herbed Cucumber-Yogurt Drink from Istanbul & Beyond by Robyn Eckhardt. Copyright © 2017 by Robyn Eckhardt. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.