I recently went to a cool Persian joint for some kabob and came across a bottle of Abali Yogurt Soda. I thought to myself, "I like yogurt, and I like soda. How bad could it be?" The bottle showed some separation with a thick white layer towards the bottom. I asked if it is supposed to be shaken first. The purveyor said yes, shake it first then give it a few minutes so that it doesn't explode on you.
Stoked, I bought one. I shook it up, and while I waited, I read the ingredients. Soda water, yogurt, mint, salt. I can pronounce all of those! When it settled I took a sip and was a little surprised at how salty it was. It wasn't incredibly salty, I've just never had a savory soda before. I found it quite pleasant after a few more sips, and completely delicious over ice.
I had never heard of yogurt soda before and was kind of shocked to find how ubiquitous the drink is in the Middle East. It can be called doogh, dugh, do, abdugh, shlombay, sheneena, or tahn depending where you might be. Yogurt + soda = most Americans getting grossed out, but it really isn't much different from India's Lassi, as in Mango Lassi served everywhere.
While I was looking on the web for more information about it, I found this cool food blog, Yogurt Soda.
I went to the store to make my own. I picked up:
- One 18oz. bottle of Crystal Geyser unflavored sparkling mineral water
- One pint of lowfat yogurt
- One bunch of mint
- I had salt at home
I boiled about three cups of water and dumped the bunch of mint in to steep until the water cooled to room temperature, about an hour. To each glass I added a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of the cooled mint water, 3 tablespoons of yogurt and stirred. I topped off each glass with some ice and the soda water. Mmm, just like Abali.