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Dovga

Dovga

Dovga is a soup made from plain yoghurt and herbs, which can be served warm in winter or refreshingly cold in summer.

A variety of herbs are used in dovga, according to taste. Coriander, dill and mint are mainstays of the soup. Chervil and mountain parsley, when available, make a delicious dovga. Spring onions or sorrel can also be used but tend to dominate the other, more delicate, flavours.

Ingredients
½ cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight or 1 cup canned, drained
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
2 cups chopped fresh dill
½ cup chopped fresh spinach
½ cup chopped fresh green garlic (if in season; leaves only)
½ cup chopped fresh mint
½ cup chopped fresh parsley or celery leaves
3 cups plain yogurt
4 cups water (or more if your yogurt is too thick and if you want a thinner soup)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/3 cup medium-grain rice, rinsed
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste (optional)

Method
If you are using dried presoaked chickpeas, put them in a small saucepan filled with water and boil until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 hour. Drain and set aside. Place the chopped herbs in a colander and wash, tossing with your hands, under running water to remove the green juices. Do not squeeze the herbs. Allow the herbs drain on a colander. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the yogurt, water, flour and egg until smooth. Add the rice and stir to mix. Constantly stirring (very important, do not give up!) clockwise with a wooden spoon to prevent the mixture from curdling, bring it to a boil over medium heat. The soup should boil in 7-10 minutes. As soon as it boils, stir in the fresh herbs. Stirring occasionally, simmer for another 7-8 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Add the cooked or canned chickpeas and remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature, then salt to taste and serve the soup ladled into individual serving bowls. If you wish, sprinkle decoratively with black pepper. You can also chill the soup in the refrigerator before serving. Note that dovgha thickens as it stands. Loosen with cold water.