Simple but Hearty: Wrap your family around Pokhindz to warm the winter

Pokhindz is running into the boiled and cooled water from 46-year-old Anna Manvelyan’s small fist. By her one hand she is pouring the pokhindz, and by the other hand she is mixing it with a wooden ladle.

The main ingredient of pokhindz soup is the pokhindz itself. Pokhindz is roasted, ground wheat flour, a bit darker than regular flour, with bigger grains. The porridge is a staple of the Armenian winter, simple and inexpensive.

“First you must put a pot full of two liters of water on the fire until it boils. Add half a tablespoon of salt, and then let the water cool,” explains Manvelyan, who learned the recipe from her elders and now serves it for her family in Yerevan.

“After the water cools, add the pokhindz little by little, mixing it all the time. It is necessary to mix it so much until the mass gets thicker,”

Even though the process of preparing this soup seems to be quite simple, however, there are some secrets that Armenian women inherit from their mothers and grandmothers.

Anna says it is necessary to stir the mixture constantly until the pokhindz dissolves in the water easily, and no balls appear. When the grain has dissolved it is returned to the fire. Wait till the mixture starts “talking”, bubbling gently. When big rings of bubbles appear, it is time to remove it from the fire.

While preparing the porridge, Anna has put butter and matsun (Armenian yogurt) on the table.

She spoons the pokhindz into a bowl and one of her sons, Azat, shows how it is eaten. “We make a small hole in the middle of the plate, and put some butter there. Later we cover the surface of the pokhindz soup with matsun,” says her 26-year old son.

Simply made. Simply consumed. But Anna says such traditional dishes are slowly disappearing, but she tries to pass them on.

“When I do not prepare them for a long time, my children tell me, ‘Mom, will you, please, cook some ancient dishes’ . . .”

The following ingredients are necessary for preparing pokhindz soup:

½ kilograms pokhindz

2 liters water

½ tablespoon salt

150 grams butter

500 grams matsun

How to prepare pokhindz soup:

Put two liters of water on gas fire. When the water is boiling, take the pan out of the fire and add salt, and leave it to get cool. Add pokhindz little by little mixing it with a ladle until the mass gets thick. Then put the mass on the fire, and start mixing it again until the soup starts boiling. Keep it boiling for 15 minutes and take it off the fire. Pour the soup into plates. When eating, make a small hole in the middle of the plate and put some butter there. Spread matsun on the surface of the pokhindz. Properly prepared pokhindz should have a sweet and salty taste and is a hearty blanket against the Caucasus winter.