Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Unique Turkish and Balkan Beverage

Boza is a fermented bulgur drink which is quite popular in Turkey. Even though it is mostly consumed in winter, I see no reason why it would not be enjoyed in summer days, either.

Boza is very popular drink in Turkey also many Balkan countries and some Middle Eastern countries enjoy it and turns out they even serve it at breakfast in Bulgaria.
It was once prohibited in the Ottoman Empire time, since it contains 2%- 6 % alcohol. This percentage heavily depends on the length of the fermentation period (more wait,more booze), the sugar amount and the heat of the room it has been fermented.

From what I know, it can be made with corn, bulgur, millet … possibly any grain you can think about. So far I have made only with bulgur and turned out great,of course according to my GF,boza is one of the most disgusting drink ever, pls ignore her:)

Maybe I should leave the history behind this drink to the famous Vefa Bozacısı of İstanbul (Anthony Bourdain was there 3 weeks ago and show will be on TV February). Here is a little quote from them explaining the drink itself in short:

Boza is a fermented bulgur refreshment with addition of water and sugar. It contains vitamin A and four types of vitamin B as well as vitamins C and E. During fermentation, Boza produces lactic acid. This type of acid which is rarely found in food products helps digestion and also recommended for its milk-producing property for pregnant women and for sportsman as a valuable source of vitamin. Also it was very effective in the cholera treatment during late 18th and early 19th century.

For 5 – 6 cups

1 cup bulgur ( ½ cup bulgur + ½ cup rice can be used as well)
1 cup sugar
8 – 9 cups of water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Put the grains and 8 cups of water in a big pot and slowly cook it. If you like, you can soak the grains in the water overnight to help this process. Do not put the lid on. Cook until it is easy to mash the grains

Strain it through a fine colander by pressing hard and collect the thick juice; this will be your boza. You can discard the pulp

Add the sugar to the thick juice and stir well. It should be thinner than tomato paste, but not as juicy as tomato juice. If the blend is so thick, you can add more water to it. Put back on to low heat, and boil for about 3 - 4 mins. Pour into a glass bowl and let it cool down to about 120F

In another bowl, mix the yeast with warm water, and pour it into the big bowl. Make sure to mix well. Cover it with double layer cheesecloth or a kitchen towel and leave it in the room temperature until the bubbles appear. (Put smething under neat your bowl,may be over flow) This can take up to 2 days, depending on how hot the room is

Serve it chilled. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and serve with dry roasted chickpeas (another Turkish/Middle Eastern snack), if you can have any. You may also need a spoon to get to the boza that is at the bottom of your glass/cup

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