Armenian Yoghurt, Mint and Barley Soup (Spas)


An Armenian classic, this is eaten hot in winter and chilled in summer – the egg prevents the yogurt curdling. Farro can be used instead of the barley and you can add chopped coriander or parsley at the end for extra herbal zing.


Armenian Yoghurt, Mint and Barley Soup (Spas)


Preparation: 10min

Cooking: 40min

Serves 4



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 110 g (½ cup) pearl barley
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 500 g (2 cups) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2½ tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • mint leaves, walnuts, or dried rose petals, to garnish



Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium, add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes or until softened. Add the barley, bay leaf, and stock and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes or until barley is tender.

Combine the yoghurt, dried mint, yolks and lemon zest in a bowl and whisk to combine well. In another bowl, stir the cornflour and lemon juice together to form a smooth paste then combine with the yolk mixture.

Stir about 375 ml (1½ cup) of the hot stock mixture into the yolk mixture to combine well, then pour into the pan. Stirring often, bring mixture slowly back to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes or until it simmers and thickens.

Season well with salt and pepper, then serve.


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