Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ermerouk Chorba (Marash Armenian Purslane Soup)

Our first night in 2015 on Martha's Vineyard . . . Marash Girl awoke thinking about the recipe for Ermerouk Corba  (Purslane Soup).  Why?  Because before going to bed, she checked the Facebook Page, "I am a survivor of a descendant of the Armenian Genocide", and there was the image of a light-hearted poster asking the following questions:  "What is it that Armenians cannot live without?" Ignoring the fact that one should never end a sentence with a preposition, Marash Girl immediately answered "Perper" (in Armenian), "Ermerouk" (in Turkish), "Purslane" (in English), [See Marash Girl], for it was that little plant that grew along the sides of the road -- all that grew along the sides of the road -- that kept some Armenians alive early in the 20th century during the aksoroutioun աքսորություն (the deadly deportations from their homeland).

Marash Girl remembers Marash Boy's mother making Ermerouk Chorba.  Marash Girl looked for the recipe online, but could not find it.  So Marash Girl is delving into her memory, and if her memory serves her well, here is the way to make Eremerouk Chorba.

Photo Credit: WildForageWordPress
Purslane has small fleshy leaves and red fleshy stems and grows low to the ground -- often the first "weed" to appear in someone's neatly tended tomato garden! Most folks call this little plant a weed, and try desperately to get rid of it.  Do those folks a favor. Gather the purslane for them! Try not to pull the plant up by the roots, because a flurry of dirt will cover the purslane, making it difficult to wash. [When you gather purslane, be very careful, because there is a plant that grows among the purslane which is poisonous to eat and looks similar to purslane but without the fleshy leaves and red stems.] 
Cut the purslane off just above the roots. Carefully wash in a large pan of cold water -- wash  numerous times before beginning to process.  When no soil particles appear in the bottom of the wash pan, it is time to begin preparing your soup.

1) Prepare the purslane by chopping in half inch lengths, stems and all. (No roots, of course.) Set aside.

2) In a large pot, place fresh cool water, cooked chick peas (canned chick peas that have been drained and rinsed -- or dried chick peas that have been soaked overnight and cooked until soft), dzedzadz (hulled wheat that has been soaked and cooked until soft),  tomatoes (freshly gathered from the garden or canned, depending on the season). Bring this mixture to a boil, add chopped purslane and simmer the soup until the purslane is al dente. In other words, don't simmer the soup for too long. Add salt, black pepper, Marash red pepper, and freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste.  Bring to a boil once more and remove from heat.  The purslane should still be slightly chewy and the soup slightly sour.  

Enjoy!  And while you're enjoying the soup, thank Azniv Sanjian Charkoudian (born in Marash in 1904) for the recipe!


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