Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tarkhana and the Armenians

Thanks to those of you who posted the photos (scroll down to yesterday's blog post) on Facebook . . . the photos Marash Girl reposted here yesterday. Mother-in-law, Azniv Sanjian Charkoudian, born in Marash, a survivor of the forced mass exodus to the desert, (known as the "death march" among us Armenians), used to make        թարխանա (tarkhana) in her new American home in Springfield, Massachusetts.  She would mix equal parts of boulghour (the large size used for making pilaf) with salt and her own homemade yogurt, simmering the mixture on the stove top, stirring the mixture constantly so it would not burn,  until it made a very thick paste; she  let the mixture set in the pot overnight. The next day, from the thickened mixture, she formed patties (about the size of a burger) which she would dry and later either make into soup, or soften with water and eat that way. Because the weather in Massachusetts was usually cold and rainy during the year, she had to dry the tarkhana patties in a tray placed on her radiator rather than on her rooftop as she used to do in Marash.
Notice the flat rooftops of Marash - photo from KAHRAMANMARAŞ, ( Bir Zamanlar Maraş ) Facebook page!
N.B. The patties were often taken on long trips for sustenance, as the patties were dry and could be softened with water and eaten just that way, or made into soup with water and fresh greens.  The Armenians probably used ermerouk (purslane) as it was the one green that was high in nutrition and grew readily along the roadside, even along the route that they had to travel during those terrible days of deportation and death a century ago.  Sorry.  Although she likes to stay positive, Marash Girl had to say it.


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