Monday, May 11, 2015

'Spas' - Madzoon (Yogurt) Soup with Grains

Just as we arrived in Yerevan, Doug began to feel down-right rotten due to a nasty head cold. Besides needing a good night’s sleep, he craved a bowl of steaming hot soup. Luckily for us, our hotel, Best Western Congress Hotel, had a rather nice, extremely convenient, restaurant on the premises.

Our hotel in Yerevan -  Congress Hotel 
Doug noticed ‘spas’ on the menu, and chose it for medicinal purposes. It’s pretty-much the same as the yogurt soup we’d eaten as kids, so it was a comforting choice.

Did spas cure Doug’s head cold? Well, in a manner of speaking; he (unintentionally) passed it on to me!

'Spas' from the Congress Hotel's restaurant

The Armenian Kitchen's Spas 
Spas -  Madzoon (Yogurt) Soup with Grains
Yield: 4 to 5 servings

NOTE: This soup may be served hot or cold, but, if you choose to serve this cold, omit the egg yolk! 

1/2 cup shelled wheat (a.k.a. dzedzadz) (NOTE: Found in Middle Eastern stores, BUT, farro, wheat berries or pearl barley may be substituted.)
3 cups strained or Greek-style plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups water – or - low-sodium chicken broth (NOTE: For a thinner soup add more water or broth; for a thicker soup, add less.)
1 egg yolk, beaten (Save egg white for another use.)
 2 Tbsp. flour
 ½ tsp salt
 3 Tbsp. butter
 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  2 tsp. dried crush mint - or- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves
  1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, optional

1. Cook shelled wheat (dzedzadz) in 4 cups of lightly salted, boiling water until tender - about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. If there is any excess liquid, drain it. Set cooked wheat aside until ready to use.
Cooked shelled wheat (dzedzadz)
Step #2
2. In a 6-quart pot, blend together yogurt, water (or broth), egg yolk and flour with an electric hand mixer. Cook until mixture reaches a gentle boil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk or wooden spoon. Stir in salt and cooked wheat; cook one minute longer.  Remove from heat. 

3. In a skillet, sautė onion in butter until soft, but not brown. Add mint, and parsley, if using. 
Step #3
4. Add onion mixture to soup; simmer for five more minutes. Serve immediately.


  1. Yogurt soup is such amazing comfort food when it's cold or when YOU have a cold. In the winter, when I get home, I'm hungry, I need something quick, I make this soup. Since I usually don't want to wait for the shelled wheat to cook, I substitute bulgur, rice, or even vermicelli (arishta/sheeriyeh), plus whatever meat or frozen vegetables I happen to have handy. Very satisfying.

    I hope you had a great time in Armenia!

    1. We've been eating this soup since childhood, and were so happy to see it on the menu at our hotel. Your substitutions are a great way to save time, thanks!
      Our trip was amazing on so many levels!