Saturday, October 31, 2020

A Recipe Request for Sweet Tarkhana - Grape Juice Pudding

Over the years I’ve received numerous requests to help find family-favorite Armenian recipes. With each request, I did my best to track down the recipe – with pretty good results.

I was happy to help Brenda Papazian-Madden recently when she sent me the following request:

Brenda wrote:

“I am trying to find a recipe my grandmother used to make.  I believe it had the word tarkhana in it.  It had barley, grape juice, and some other items.  It was served warm.  I hope you know what I am describing!?  If you have this recipe, can you please send it to me?”

Brenda's Sweet Tarkhana - Grape Juice Pudding - is ready to serve.

A bit of background information on ‘tarkhana’: traditional Armenian tarkhana is made up of matzoon (plain yogurt) and eggs mixed with equal amounts of wheat flour and starch. Small pieces of dough are prepared and dried and then kept in glass containers and used mostly in soups, where it dissolves in hot liquid.

Tarkhana (Photo courtesy of Sonia Tashjian)

To confuse matters, traditional tarkhana is NOT an ingredient in this particular recipe, however, barley (or ‘dzedzadz’ - sold in Middle Eastern stores) is.

Shelled wheat, aka Dzedzadz - sold in Middle Eastern stores
Initially, I sent Brenda some recipes for tarkhana from Rose Baboian’s ‘American-Armenian Cookbook’, but none of them included grape juice. 
Sadly, Rose Baboian's cookbook is difficult to find.
Not one to give up, I scoured my collection of Armenian cookbooks and found just the one she was looking for!

The recipe is called ‘Sweet Tarkhana (Targhana) – Grape Juice Pudding’ which I found in the 'Treasured Armenian Recipes', published by the Detroit Women’s Chapter of the AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union, Inc.).

'Treasured Armenian Recipes' cookbook.
When Brenda received the recipe, she was overjoyed! She intended to prepare it right away to share with her family. I asked if she’d permit me to post her request and if she would send me a photo of the finished product.

As you can see, not only did I get her permission, but several photos as well. 

And now we'll share it with you. Thanks, Brenda!

Sweet Tarkhana made even sweeter with a scoop of ice cream!

Sweet Tarkhana (Targhana) – Grape Juice Pudding


1 quart (4 cups) grape juice

1 cup water

1 ½ cups barley (or dzedzadz)

½ cup sugar

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter **

½ cup chopped nuts

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. allspice


Wash barley and drain. Place barley in a pot with the 1 cup water and soak it for a few minutes. Add the grape juice and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring now and then.

Stir in the sugar and butter and beat for a few minutes. Add the spices and nuts.
Tarkhana cooking.

Pour into individual bowls. Serve warm or cold.

** Note: The recipe in the cookbook mentioned adding butter along with the sugar, however, neither butter nor its amount were included in the ingredient list. Therefore, I took a guess at the butter amount which seemed to work nicely when Brenda made the recipe.

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