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Recipe #26: Try A Savory & Refreshing Yoghurt Drink! (Homemade Doogh)

Posted Jan 25 2008 12:00am

This drink recipe ("doogh") is a favorite concoction of mine. It's refreshing and simply delicious! I first tried it several years ago at a Persian restaurant, & I've been hooked every since.

In fact, at the local Moby Dick's eatery around the corner from me, I'm unofficially known as the "Doogh queen." ;-) (Yes, I know, strange name for a restaurant, but they have great food!) They always smile & chuckle a bit when they see me coming; I think it's probably because they are amused that a non-Persian likes this drink so much and also knows how to correctly pronounce all of the names of the dishes. Or, let's certainly hope that's the reason! ;-)

No, I didn't study Farsi or anything, but I've certainly have overheard enough of my Persian friends chatting amongst themselves to pick up a smattering of the language here & there. ;-) I also happen to have prior knowledge of other Semitic languages as well, and in general, enjoy speaking and learning Foreign languages, so that certainly helps as well. I've also done a lot of international travel, and enjoy studying about and immersing myself in different cultures and environments, etc., etc.

But anyhow, back to the drink recipe. It doesn't taste anything like salt lassi, if you are used to drinking those, although it is a salty beverage. I actually like doogh much better than most of the salt lassis I've tried. (It does taste a bit more like mint lassi , however.) Doogh usually has a refreshing, cool, minty taste, (OK don't worry, it's NOT anything like toothpaste! Hahahaha!), and as a result, you'll probably feel much revived from drinking it! I'd particularly recommend drinking it on a hot summer's day. The drink has excellent health properties, so you can really enjoy it anytime, & also feel great about the fact that you're putting something good into your body as well!

I bet that many of you are probably already familiar with the "yoghurt & mint combination" typically found in many Mediterranean. Middle-Eastern, and Indian foods and beverages. Sometimes cucumber is also added to the mix, as in the case of many soups and standard dipping sauces. For instance, consider raitas (Indian food) and Tzatsiki sauce (Greek food), etc. However, cucumber is not traditionally used when making "doogh," although it would probably taste quite delicious & refreshing to dip a cucumber spear into this drink & then take a bite! ;-)

But enough about this. Let's get down to it, & give you that recipe!

So, here's the recipe I like to use, which I've modified slightly after much trial & error, to get the perfect balance of savory & salty flavors. Enjoy!

Homemade Doogh (Persian Yoghurt Drink)

1 c. thick whole milk yoghurt (NOTE: I actually use low-fat or non-fat yoghurt to save on the fat calories. It still tastes really good this way!)
1 tsp. chopped fresh mint (NOTE: If fresh mint isn't available, substitute with a dash of dry mint flakes, crushed.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper (Yes, I know this might sound strange to add pepper to a drink, but trust me, it's what gives the drink it's proper balance of flavor!)
1 1/2 c. club soda or springwater (NOTE: Bottled dough in restaurants will usually be either carbonated or non-carbonated. I like both, but try whichever version you think you might like best!)

1. Pour yoghurt, mint, salt, & pepper into a pitcher. (I actually think it's easiest to pour all of the ingredients into one of those empty gallon milk/water jugs, put the cap on tightly and just shake it vigorously. IMPORTANT: PLEASE do NOT use this technique if you are using club soda!!!! Or you might find yourself wearing your dough instead of drinking it! Also, just to share a bit of my wisdom gained from past experience making this drink, I'd highly recommend that you put your free hand on top of the cap & pressing firmly while shaking, for similar reasons!)

2. Add club soda or springwater gradually, stirring constantly. Add 3-4 ice cubes and mix again.

3. Serve chilled.

COOK'S NOTES: You might also want to add more mint, pepper, or salt, to taste to the final product, depending on your own personal preference. If you do decide to add more of these ingredients, I'd highly recommend adding them gradually, and tasting after each addition, to make sure that the taste is balanced. I typically like to add a few more scoops of mint and a touch more salt to the finished product, but that's just me. ;-)

If this is the very first time you'll be making this drink, you might want to stick to the recipe the first go-round, and then start getting creative after you've gotten a sense of the essence of what it tastes like. Of course, you can do as you wish. But don't say I didn't warn you! I'll admit to many a "doogh disaster" -- either because I shook the container a bit too vigorously (Hey, it feels really good give that thing a good, hard shake, OK!?! ;-) ), or have over-salted, over-peppered, and yes, even over-minted this drink (if that's even a word!). Well, they don't call it "trial & error" for nothing! I'm certainly not afraid to admit to making these mistakes, as the end product has turned out even better as a result. If you don't try, and if you don't experiment, how will you ever know what works best?!

Also, I usually double , triple, or even quadruple (!) the recipe, and put the drink mixture into a gallon jug (or two!). What can I say, I really like this drink (!), and drink it regularly throughout the summer. Hope you'll like it as much as I do too! Who knows, maybe it'll even become one of your new favorites!

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