Ayran is an exotic drink, typical of the Middle East, especially Turkey. But appreciated in all the territories that belonged to the Ottoman Empire. This refreshing drink is a mixture of yogurt, water, salt, and mint.
The ayran arose as a result of the need for nomadic peoples to preserve yogurt. When the yogurt mixed with water and salt it prolonged its lifetime. The word ayran appears for the first time in history as "a drink made with milk" in the Turkish work Divan-i Lugat-it.
How was Ayran made?
The ancient tradition of preparing ayran without the help of electric mixers is a extinct. Although the original procedure can be very interesting. In ancient times, water, yogurt, and salt were placed inside a "yayik" to beat them for approximately half an hour until obtaining the ayran. In this procedure, the butter is separated from the whey and remains floating on the surface. When removing the butter, the ayran arises.
The yayik is a kind of wooden barrel, which swings like a swing. The back-and-forth movement of the yayik for a long period causes the butter to separate from the milk, thereby achieving the ayran. And although today, there are many modern butter dishes, the ayran is made in the blender.
Many people prefer the original preparation techniques of this drink. But gastronomy evolves with technology and new social dynamics. And there aren't many people who want to spend hours pushing the yayik anymore. The recipes, adaptable and flexible, remain within the cultural heritage of the peoples. But there are many recipes that become extinct because they are laborious or complicated
Fortunately, there is still a long life for ayran as a refreshing summer drink, or as a companion to meals.
Ingredients for Ayran
The simple mix of water, yogurt, and salt is ayran. But, ayran is much more refreshing with mint leaves. Some also drink it with a little basil. While plain fatty yogurt is better in Ayran production. Adding a most of one and a half part of water to one part of yogurt is considered the "ideal ratio". Some people prefer to use milk instead of water. And in the West, some restaurants serve it with a light touch of honey or sugar. The latter will surely be repudiated by the Turks but western palates are different. And on this side of the world yogurt is more associated with sweet flavors.
1 ½ cup fatty yogurt, Greek type, unsweetened, 360 ml
1 ½ cups of water, 360 ml
½ teaspoon of salt
Mint leaves for garnish (optional)
The easiest way to get the sparkling Ayran is with the blender. To do this, place the yogurt, water, and a pinch of salt in the blender glass and beat until a foamy mixture is obtained
If you don't have a blender, you can use a hand mixer that works well too but takes a few more minutes.
Serve the Ayran in chilled glasses and garnish with some mint leaves.