One of the most popular drinks in Turkey is ayran, summer or winter. When foreign visitors first taste this salty drink, many of them cannot fathom why it’s loved by so many but it soon grows on you. Don’t give up.
A REAL THIRST QUENCHER
Ayran is wonderful at quenching your thirst. It also replenishes lost salts when you have been working hard. It can help you lose weight too because it staves off hunger. And it is so easy to make. Below you will find my ayran recipe.
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup water
- ¼ tsp salt or more to taste
- Start by blending the yogurt and slowly add the water and salt.
- Blend until it is completely smooth and has a nice froth on top.
- Pour into a glass and add some ice if you wish.
Ayran is a salty, yogurt drink that is drunk ice-cold. It can take a while to get used to the taste of it. It is definitely worth trying it more than once, as the drink truly grows on you.
It took me 4 years to enjoy it and now I couldn’t go to a pizza shop and order a pide or a lahmacun without having an ayran on the side. They are truly a match made in heaven.
HINTS FOR THE FIRST TIME AYRAN TRYER!
If you are going to try it for the first time, I recommend you either make it yourself using a blender or buy it ready-made from a shop. If ayran is sold in a bottle or sealed drink container, then the texture will be smooth, the same as if you had blended it yourself.
If you buy it from a little cafe or lokanta where they make it on the spot, often the vendors are not fussed about how well it is blended. Using just a hand whisk, it often has tiny fatty, yogurty lumps in the drink which can be more than off-putting, even for the converted ayran drinking community.
On top of that, many Turks, especially from the villages, are used to older yogurt, on the point of fermenting and can handle quite sour yogurt. So you get a double whammy if you are not careful – a lumpy, everso slightly off, salty concoction. Not advisable for the first time tryer.
I personally need my ayran smooth as silk and as fresh as can be. And then I promise you, not only is it delicious but it amazingly thirst quenching and manages any hunger pangs as well.
Many older fashioned lokantas, often the type that are selling pides, gözleme and kebaps will have an actual ayran machine which pumps the yogurt drink through a fountain and creates an amazing froth.
These generally are lovely and smooth and the head on the ayran will definitely give the impression that you are drinking a big, cold beer. (The straw is a bit of a dead giveaway, so cast that aside!)
ADDING SALT TO AYRAN
In summer, it is quite common to see people shake a bit more salt into the ayran to replenish their lost salt from perspiring. I certainly know from experience that in summer I require more salt in my ayran than during the winter months.
It’s worth listening to your body as I do believe sometimes we need extra salt, if we have been working hard or just stuck out in the sun too long. I do not overly salt my food normally and refuse to feel guilty about adding extra to my ayran on these occasions.