Recipe for peace: Ktrac apur/Kesme aşi (ARMENIA/TURKEY)

As part of our Recipes for peace series, each week we feature an inspiring dish to celebrate the varied - and tasty - ways in which food can play a role in building peace.

This week we are featuring two recipes for the same dish. These were contributed by home cooks from Gyumri (Armenia) and Kars (Turkey) who are part of our Recipes for peace field project. The initiative aims to bring together these communities, divided by both historical conflict and Armenia’s ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorny Karabakh, by celebrating their shared culinary traditions, and exploring the narratives associated with them.

Ktrac apur or kesme aşı (ARMENIA/TURKEY)

'Ktrac' or 'kesme' means “to cut” in Armenian and Turkish. It is a reference to the noodles in the soup, which are cut by hand. This is a thick nourishing soup, that can also serve as a main course. It is perfect for the region’s harsh winters.

 

A cook from the village of Aregnadem in Gyumri, Armenia prepares the yogurt version of the soup, while a cook from Kars, Turkey cooks 'kesme asi' with lentils.

 

In both cases, this dish is cooked to bring together the closest relatives and family members. They say 'ktrac' or 'kesme' has a power to unite people around it. At the table while having this soup, people remember their childhood and happy times, and elder generations tell stories about their homeland. 

Ktrac/Kesme with yogurt (Gyumri, Armenia)

Ingredıents

For the soup:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 kg yogurt
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 50 g butter
  • ½ tbsp salt

For the noodles:

  • 1 egg
  • 8 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp water
  • ½ tbsp salt

Cooking Instructions

  • Add flour and egg to the yogurt and stir well. Add water and salt and put on low heat, stir constantly until boiling.
  • Sift flour into a bowl, add ½ tbsp salt and stir to combine. Add the egg, mix into flour, add water, 1 tbsp at a time, mix with your fingers until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth, halve and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Roll one half of dough on a slightly floured surface to a 2.5 mm-thick rectangle. Cut dough into 1 cm-wide noodles. 
  • Use the second half of the dough to make croutons. Roll it on the floured surface to a 60 cm-long log. Press to flatten then cut into 1 cm length. Dust with flour and set aside.
  • Bring soup to the boil ang gently drop in the noodles, cook at low heat stirring ocassionally for around 12-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhie melt 25 g of butter over medium heat in a frying pan. Add crouton pieces and cook, stirring until crisp and golden. On another frying pan, melt 25 g of butter and add chopped onions, cook stirring until golden.
  • Once the noodles are cooked add the fried onions and crouton pieces into the soup. Boil for couple of more minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve.

Ktrac/Kesme with lentils (Turkey)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of green lentils, soaked overnight
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 12 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp of water
  • 50 g of olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 25 g butter
  • 7 cups of water

Cooking Instructions

  • Add the lentils to stockpot with water. Bring soup to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the lentils are soft. 
  • Meanwhile sift 8 tbsp flower into a bowl, add ½ tbsp salt and stir to combine. Add the egg, mix into flour, add water, 1 tbsp at a time, mix with your fingers until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Roll dough on a slightly floured surface to a 2.5 mm-thick rectangle. Cut dough into 1 cm-wide noodles.  Gently drop in the noodles into the soup, cook at low heat stirring ocassionally for around 12-15 minutes.
  • For croutons mix 4 tbsp flour with 4 tbsp olive oil, add some salt and knead well with fingers. Roll it on a dry surface to a 60 cm-long log. Press to flatten then cut into 1 cm length.
  • Heat 35 g olive oil in a frying pen. Add crouton pieces and cook, stirring until crisp and golden. On another frying pan, melt 25 grams of butter and add chopped onions, cook stirring until golden, add 2 tbsp tomato paste and stir well, continue frying for couple of minutes.
  • Add the fried onions and croutons into the soup, let it boil for couple of more minutes. Serve.

Afiyet olsun/Bon appetit

You can find out more about our work in the Caucasus here.

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