Jajuk, Armenian Summer Soup, is a middle eastern dish of yogurt and cucumbers with onions, mint and dill. It is a delicious summer salad for barbecues and picnics.
Most, if not all, Middle Eastern cuisines have their own variation of yogurt and cucumber salad or soup. The Greeks add garlic and call it Tzatziki, the Armenians go with mint and dill and call it Jajuk. Which translates to Summer Soup. My Armenian “expert”, Jamie from I am Not the Babysitter, told me some people use more yogurt than vegetables so it is more soup like.
When I posted the photo above to the FMS Photo A Day group, a wonderful fellow member, Callie Raykhonov, gave me the following information about this dish in Uzbekistan and Russia:
I make something similar that I learned in Uzbekistan (made last night in fact) and wanted to see how similar your recipe was. Quite similar but I put radishes and lots of minced garlic. And we actually add water to make it more like soup. My husband is from Bukhara where they speak Tajik and it’s called “chaka chalop” Russians add kvas (fermented bread drink) and call it “okroshka”
Your foodie lesson for the day.
The original recipe came from a college friend of my dad’s and he and mom tweaked it a little bit to make it more like a salad, which is what is listed below. If you want it more soup like, add water or kvass. Of course I might just have to search around to find some kvass to try it for myself.
This comes together quickly, but you want to make it a few hours ahead of time to let the flavors blend.
Summer Soup (Jajuk or jajik) is an Armenian cucumber and yogurt salad. Similar to Tzatziki, chaka chalop, okroshka.
- 2 cups plain yogurt or 1 cup greek yogurt
- 2 Medium cucumbers
- 1/2 cup red onions diced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint finely minced
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- salt and white pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh dill finely minced (optional)
- If using regular yogurt: Fold cheese cloth into 6 layers and place over sieve. Place sieve layered with cheese cloth over a bowl allowing 2 inch space below sieve to collect excess liquid without touching bottom.
- Scoop yogurt into cheese cloth and wrap cheese cloth around yogurt. Cover all with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in refrigerator over night until liquid had drained from yogurt.
- Scrape yogurt with rubber spatula from cheese cloth into non-metal bowl.
- Peel cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise Using a teaspoon, scoop out seeds. Discard seeds. Cut each half into 6 fairly even slices lengthwise. Cut crosswise to make approximately ¼ to ½ inch dices.
- Stir in remaining ingredient and let flavors meld in refrigerator for 2 or more hours. Adjust seasoning if needed
This is called Summer Soup, but I have always had it as more of a salad. Do not strain the yogurt, or add water, if you want to make it more soup-like as they do in many other cultures.
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