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Ooo! I want to try some…

It’s qurt. Also called qurut, kurt, kashk, jameed or chortan.

Sun-dried yoghurt balls.

Very high in protein and calcium, it was historically very important across Central Asia as a portable and nutritious food. It will keep without refrigeration for years. It can be dissolved into a beverage or a soup. They’re salty, apparently, and can be spiced in various ways. They go hard as little rocks eventually.

The article says it “gave nomads a strategic military advantage in the 12th and 13th centuries A.D.” So, like, are we not allowed to call them Mongols any more? Because we’re obviously talking Genghis and the boys here (who, probably coincidentally, were said to stink of sour milk).

On this subject, if you haven’t heard Dan Carlin on the Mongol Invasion, that’s eight hours of your life that you didn’t spend listening to Dan Carlin on the Mongol Invasion. Unlike me. Though I think I bailed after three. Hardcore is right.

I can’t find a local source. They give a recipe, but a) it looks like a lot of work and b) how would I know if I got it right if I never tried it before? Also, the British version involves blow driers, because wet little island. Phooey on this ‘multicultural society’ thing if I can’t even get qurt on a whim.

p.s. If you aren’t on Atlas Obscura’s mailing list, I highly recommend it. One of the few bits of solicited junk mail I get that I actually read.

p.p.s. Have a good weekend!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 12, 2021, 8:57 pm

This amused me.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: March 12, 2021, 9:34 pm

Sun-dried yoghurt balls.
fermented milk !

Thanks for an interesting post and interesting links. I love knowing about homemade survival food.

Somewhere on this 4TB hard disk I have George Washington’s recipe for Rye Wiskey, and his recipe for egg nogg.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 12, 2021, 9:42 pm

I once had a terrible craving for egg nog…in August. I found a recipe and, actually, it worked! Tasted just like the sweet filth in the grocery store.

Comment from OldFert
Time: March 12, 2021, 9:43 pm

Was developed in the Mongol ‘hood.
“Yo, gurt!”

Your little vid was quite good.

Comment from oldowan
Time: March 12, 2021, 9:54 pm

I got introduced to this stuff when traveling to Uzbekistan with my wife (she went to college there). She loves the stuff–says that it’s very healthy and delicious.. I tried a piece and was not impressed. Like eating a piece of salty chalk. I brought a bag home to share with friends and family. Not one of these ingrates even asked for a second piece…

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 13, 2021, 12:57 am

I thought they were unsugared Mexican Wedding Cakes 🙂

How big are they? I wonder if a food dehydrator would work on yoghurt balls?

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 13, 2021, 12:59 am

Every Culture, I think, has a weird flavor that they love, but no one else understands. This would seem to be one of those. In Japan, everyone likes Nattō (Nah-Toe, not Nay-Toe) which is made of fermented soybeans. Think baked beans left out for a week or two. Uh, no thank you.

I first learned that America has its own weird foods when, soon after returning to the States, I had a craving for a Ruben sandwich, My wife (whom as you know is Japanese) still speaks of the horror of tasting the combination of rye bread, sauerkraut, corned beef, Swiss cheese, and Russian salad dressing. It makes her shudder. I guess when you think about it there are a whole lotta strong flavors there, but it never occurred to me that someone might not like it.

Comment from HTL
Time: March 13, 2021, 1:33 am

Speaking of reuben sandwiches, once at the old Carnegie Deli (now defunct) in NYC (also defunct), I watched one of my employees eat a reuben sandwich that was bigger than my head (H/T Kliban). I left town shortly thereafter. To be fair, I was a region manager not based in NYC, and wanted to go home. The sandwich had little to do with it. But not nothing, I confess.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 13, 2021, 4:47 am

Well, the Huns, as in Hungarians, drink Palinka.
Looks like plain old water, but noooooooooooooooooo.

That stuff won’t keep you ON your horse though, so don’t plan on doing much conquering if you’re drinking it.

Someveg – Takoyaki? And there’s a complaint about Ruebens? I know, not ‘the’ ingredient, but I have to love the way the name translates.
Still I’m guessing you’ve neglected to offer her Rocky Mountain/Prairie Oysters. Which is, completely understandable if you ask me.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 13, 2021, 3:08 pm

Durn- No Rocky Mountain Oysters for her, thanks. We have enough confusion already. Everything is different our food worlds in a fascinating ‘Through The Looking Glass’ way. Sashimi? You bet! Steak Tartar? Oh Hell NO – Gross! Dried squid? Pretty tasty. Beef Jerky? Nah. She still speaks with horror of the open-faced roast-beef au-jus sandwich she had on the first day of her first visit to the states. In Japan a sandwich (sando) is a tiny thing with the crusts cut off tea-party style, and that’s what she expected. What she got was a big hanging off the edges of the plate slab very rare roast beef in what she called “blood” with a tiny square of white bread underneath. She had to leave the table.

Now, she’s not anti-beef or meat – she loves bbq ribs, or a good steak -as long as you cut all that gross fat off. If fact, we have a deal: I don’t have to eat those good-for-you fish eyes and she doesn’t have to eat the fat on her steak.

And the names of some things don’t translate well… I am still trying to explain why ‘chicken-fried-steak’ isn’t chicken, and I have never enjoyed my eggs as well as I used to after learning the Japanese name for ‘sunny side up’ is ‘medama yaki’ which literally means ‘fried eyeball’. No, after unfortunately fixing that image in my brain, scrambling them doesn’t help.

Oh, and Tako-yaki? They’re pretty good with a little sauce… there’s not that much Octopus in them really…

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: March 13, 2021, 5:41 pm

Chicken fried steak is just wienerschnitzel made with beef (which we had plenty of in TX) instead of veal (which we did not). Lot of German immigrants in Central Texas, and they adapted their family recipes to the local options.

Now ask me about my Czech ancestors and what we did to kolaches!

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 13, 2021, 11:25 pm

Someveg: Tako-yaki?
Yep, I’m a “I gotta know!” person sometimes, and Tako-yaki was one of those things.

Mostly sort of a stuffing kinda filling with a bit of octopus.
Called balls because they’re shaped like balls. Kinda like donut holes (which we don’t call donut balls because American males…and Octopus holes wouldn’t have been any better).

“I gotta know” has caused several interesting dinners.

Mrs D, her first experience with tempura shrimp. After we’d finished dinner, “That tasted like wall paper paste (I didn’t ask how she knew), so where are we going for dinner?”

The Chinese place in Plano that’s for real Chinese folks, and among other “interesting things”, serves chicken feet. I didn’t have to know that badly on that one I admit. The menu was difficult to select from for everyone but me and I ended up on the Special High Intensity Training list for the evening (use the acronym).
Another “Now where are we going for dinner” dinner.

Balsamic Ice Cream in Fort Worth. I don’t recall what flavor it was, but it was quite good. Tried convincing my dinner partners, NO! but it did become legend.

Dingle pies, which I was informed, were NOT going to be cooked or eaten in the house. This despite pointing out Dingle is a place, not a body part, and there weren’t any ‘dingles’ in the pies.

And I confess to liking my beef pretty rare, almost “cut off the horns, wipe it’s butt, and bring it out” temperature. Which was “entertaining” when we lunched with the folks from the UK office though I was too young and stupid to notice at the time and was politely told off over Bass Ales after hours.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: March 14, 2021, 2:33 am

Side note re: Reuben sandwiches.

Though the Deli Gods may smite me for this desecration of the One True Reuben Recipe, I offer these substitutions that Mrs. Al and I think make a great sandwich even greater:

1. Use pastrami instead of corned beef. The different spices and the smokiness of the pastrami really ought to be tried.

2. Use Jarlsberg cheese instead of Swiss. The difference here isn’t as obvious as the pastrami, but we find the slightly nutty and buttery taste of Jarlsberg goes even better than Swiss with the other strong flavors of a Reuben.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: March 14, 2021, 3:11 am

It may be because I spent the first 25 years of my life in and around restaurants, but I would be willing to or have tried pretty much everything listed here. I would be very willing to try the sun dried yoghurt balls. Have to pass on the Palinka because it conflicts with some medications I take.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 14, 2021, 9:40 am

@Uncle Al – heh, noted! We haven’t had Reubens in months. Test kitchen on this one today!

And this


Comment from BJM
Time: March 14, 2021, 4:51 pm

Ha! Now I know where these folks got the idea. I assumed it was space-related spin-off like Tang. Moon Cheese is very tasty and very more-ish…the classic yellow cheddar is my fav. You do end up with Cheeto-dust fingers (and steering wheel cover) so I suspect there’s some annatto or carotene in the cheese. Skip the Gouda which tasted like cheese-flavored soap…however YMMV.

I get ’em at Grocery Outlet fer 99 cents a bag. Another G.O. find is a line of Polish pickles, beets, slaws, and such. The Polish Salad is slaw with sweet cherry peppers. Try that on yer Reuben.

Comment from BJM
Time: March 14, 2021, 5:01 pm

@Mrs. Peel…y’all filled them with smoked brisket and jalapenos? I had them with smoked beef sausage and scrambled eggs too.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 14, 2021, 6:00 pm

In ‘West’ ( it’s a town, not a region ) the Czech Stop and Little Czech Bakery serves them with Texas sized slices of ham and cheese inside. Plus many other all delicious flavors.


nom nom nom.

Should you ever find yourself on I35 heading north or south to/from Dallas (or Waco), do yourself a pleasant favor and stop in.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 14, 2021, 7:20 pm

@ Mrs. Peel: Now ask me about my Czech ancestors and what we did to kolaches! You have swerved into my pet peeve. I hope your kolaches are the same sort as my kolaches: a barely sweetened pastry with poppy seed or apricot filling. NOT a meat-filled abomination, despite durnedyankee’s admiration for bastardized wurst rolls. (I really do need to faith-rest the whole kolache thing. It has caused me too much grief.)

As long as no one tries to change or re-name the chicken-fried steak (which is one of my premier offerings).

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: March 14, 2021, 8:35 pm

THIS is the coolest thing I have seen this weekend… I hope she didn’t vote JoeMentia.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: March 14, 2021, 9:47 pm

@Deborah _ heh. That’s why DURNEDyankee 😎.

I know nothing about traditional kolaches!

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 15, 2021, 10:08 am


Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 15, 2021, 5:57 pm

Uncle Al – the test kitchen crew gave your Reuben alterations a big thumbs up.

They particularly noted the Jarlsberg.
I did too, I had to try and slice it by hand!
Okay, it was worth it though.

But you can’t call it a Reuben! I think it identifies as a Rachel. Heh.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: March 15, 2021, 8:17 pm

Rachel? Rachel! Good name! Glad to hear they were a hit.

For slicing Norwegian Jarlsberg cheese for Rachel sammiches I use a Norwegian cheese slicer. Works like a champ! Draw it along the top of the wedge for triangular slices that are handy for proper cheese tesselation.

Edit p.s. — I have to confess that I had no idea my cheese slicer was a Norwegian cheese slicer until about five minutes ago.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 15, 2021, 10:57 pm

It’s not from Swedish Wal-Mart? Known as Ikea.

Damn Unc…, we have a cheese slicer and some idiot just used a chef knife instead. Duh.
Duh. Doh!

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