Foça Tarhana

Miscellaneous - Turkey

Foça tarhana is a preparation made for a soup that has been produced in the region of Foça for generations. It gets its name from the fact that its main ingredients are yogurt in a sack made in Foça and from the thin-skinned Foça tomato. Peppers may also be added to give the final product a deeper red color, but if only tomato is used, the tarhana will be orange or light red. A particular spice called tarhanaotu is also added, and the mixture is left sit for ten to fifteen days before being dried in the sun for about ten days. Once dried, it is passed through a sieve. The taste is acidic or sour, but the flavors of tomato and pepper can be detected. The longer the tarhana ferments before drying, the stronger the sour flavor. The product has a gelatinous consistency. Variations on tarhana are made throughout Turkey, consisting of different ingredients that vary by region. They allow people to prepare a quick meal from a dried or solidified mixture, but the tarhanas themselves take a long time to prepare. Variations of tarhana have spread outside of Turkey to many parts of Europe with the spread of Turkish emigrants. Foça tarhana, however, can only be found locally and in limited quantities. There are few young people who are interested in continuing this culinary tradition, and particularly in urban areas it has become rare. Without a transfer of the knowledge of the production process to younger generations, Foça tarhana may be lost from the local culinary culture.