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Hot Yogurt and Barley Soup

October 31, 2012

Hot Yogurt Soup with Barley and Herbs

In "Jerusalem: A Cookbook," Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi write: "Consider this: there are Greek Orthodox monks in this city; Russian Orthodox priests; Hasidic Jews originating from Poland; non-Orthodox Jews from Tunisia, from Libya, from France, or from Britain; there are Sephardic Jews that have been here for generations; there are Palestinian Muslims from the West Bank..." and so on. And yet, for a city of such complex culture, the cooking is remarkably uncomplicated and unassuming.

Jerusalem: A Cookbook

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For Ottolenghi, who grew up in the Jewish west side of the city, and Tamimi, who was raised in the Muslim east side, and who now have restaurants around London, "Jerusalem" follows their bestselling first book, "Ottolenghi." This is their food of Jerusalem, what they like to cook, the dishes that remained with them after moving away -- coarse chopped salads, stuffed peppers, meatballs with favas, and fenugreek cake. You don't know if you're cooking from the east or west, Muslim or Jewish -- rather, it's the food of the city, and you can love all of Jerusalem.

Don't bother dog-earing pages, or you'll destroy the book. Better to just slowly work your way through it. I began with this warm and mellow yogurt soup. Scallions and herbs are tempered by the yogurt, the ingredient that moderates and unites so much of the cooking of this city.

First you cook the barley and onions and then use its cooking broth to heat and thicken a base of yogurt and eggs. It's a bit unnerving, like cooking custard is, as you daringly heat the mixture and will it not to curdle. But then it all comes together, somewhere between porridge and soup, each spoonful threaded with herbs.

Hot Yogurt Soup with Barley and Herbs

Cooking the barley Chopping an onion

Softening the onions Cracking the eggs

Yogurt, lovely yogurt Chopped cilantro, parsley, and scallions

Adding the onions to the cooked barley Whisking broth into the yogurt and eggs

Whisking broth into the yogurt and eggs Topping off the soup with the herbs

Ready to eat

Hot Yogurt and Barley Soup

Adapted from "Jerusalem: A Cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Serves 4

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • Salt
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Scant 2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 ounce fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/3 ounce flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

See the recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Linda Xiao

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


LLStone October 31, 2012
I'm reading through this book now, and I'm un-dog-earing my pages! It is a lovely book. Would you make the soup again? Did your children like it?
Amanda H. October 31, 2012
Yes -- it's very simple and comforting. My kids liked it. Not as much as Halloween candy, but they liked it.
dymnyno October 31, 2012
Happily, he is in my 'hood! I hope to meet him tonight at the CIA World of Flavors opening for the presenters (He is a presenter).
Amanda H. October 31, 2012
Merrill and I met Yotam and Sami the other night -- both wonderful. Hope you get a chance to chat with him!
dymnyno November 1, 2012
He was at my table! Absolutely a wonderful charming man! I enjoyed visiting with him.
dymnyno November 1, 2012
He was at my table! Absolutely a wonderful charming man! I enjoyed visiting with him.