What is doogh?
Doogh is a goat-based or ewe-based salty drink popular in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq (where it is called shinēna), Armenia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Balkans. Depending on the country, this drink may also be known as ayran or tan. Ayran is the Turkish and Lebanese version.
When bought in stores, doogh can be plain or flavored with mint or pepper. It is found everywhere in the Middle East, it is a very refreshing and healthy drink. This drink is pronounced “doure”.
How is doogh prepared?
To prepare doogh, you should use goat or ewe yogurt to which you add the same volume of still or sparkling water, as well as a pinch of salt.
This mixture is emulsified to get a foamy preparation that should be mixed with crushed ice and mint leaves. The fresh mint can be replaced by the dry mint and the amount of water can be adjusted to have different results. More water will yield a rather liquid and less creamy beverage.
In the old days, doogh was traditionally left at room temperature for a few days to allow the bacteria to develop and naturally gasify the drink. To replace the gaseous effect nowadays, people tend to use sparkling water.
What is the origin of the doogh?
The word doogh comes from the Persian word doushidant, which means “to milk”. You will also find this word in Aramaic dawghe or in Armenian abdoug or tan (than).
In the past, doogh was obtained by stirring yoghurt with whole milk in sheepskin or goat bags called mashk. Today, these preparations are manufactured industrially. Doogh is therefore now obtained from pasteurized cow’s milk mixed with water, which is more and more essential for cheese making. Salt is added during the fermentation process.
In the Balkans, doogh often includes microorganisms called probiotics. These are known to be excellent for health. In the popular imagination, they are associated with the health of shepherds who are renowned for long life and their resistance to transhumance in the mountains.
In Iran, doogh is eaten during the meal as an accompaniment to shish kebabs, marinated and grilled meat skewers.
According to Nevin Halici, a writer and lecturer who specializes in cooking, doogh and ayran were the traditional drinks consumed by the nomads of Central Asia.
For Celalettin Koçak and Yahya Kemal Avşar, professors in food engineering, these drinks were originally collected for thousands of years and are of Göktürk origin.
Other people trace the origin of doogh in India and it would have spread along the Silk Road.
What are the variants of doogh?
From one Middle Eastern country to another, doogh can be perfumed in different ways. It is therefore sometimes perfumed with wild thyme or pepper. The most traditional version is scented with mint.
The Armenian version called tahn contains cucumber. This version is also available in Iran.
In India, doogh is spiced up, which is not the case for most other versions. Doogh is a typical cousin of lassi from the Punjab region. Lassi is often flavored with rose, lemon or mango. It is often consumed outside of meals or as in Iran, served with savory dishes.
Often served with spicy dishes, it allows to tame the spiciness. In India, you will also find the chaas, a beverage from Gujarat in the Western region of the country. It is prepared with fermented milk and buttermilk or yoghurt. In Bangladesh, it is called ghol and in northern India, it is called mattha. This beverage is prepared after the extraction of the butter that is used for the making of ghee.
- ½ cup sheep's or goat's yogurt cold
- ½ cup still or sparkling water cold
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Fresh mint or dried
- Crushed ice
- Add the yoghurt and water in a blender.
- Mix for 1 minute until frothy.
- Pour the mixture into a glass.
- Add crushed ice and decorate with a little mint on top.
Depending on your taste, use less water for a thicker drink, or more for a lighter drink.