Anooshavoor (Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge)

Anooshavoor (Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge)

Although whole grain porridges are a staple breakfast food in my kitchen, I'd never considered barley a morning grain until I came across this recipe in my treasured copy of Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café for "anooshoavoor", an apparently traditional Turkish barley porridge that's flavored with apples, apricots, honey and cardamom. It's one of the most delicious and satisfying porridges I've ever had.

Cooked in a risotto style with liquid slowly added to very low heat, the result is a creamy, sweet porridge surrounding the still chewy grains of barley. But although the preparation and instructions are so extraordinarily simple, it takes about two hours to cook so it's not a breakfast for a weekday unless you make it the night before and reheat the next morning.

Mollie's recipe calls for cooking the barley in apple juice, but using apple cider instead gives the porridge an especially full, rich apple taste.

Update: It appears that I was a little premature describing the dish as an "apparently traditional Turkish" porridge, as I have recently been informed that the dish is based on one of Armenian origin rather than strictly Turkish. Called "anoush abour" or "sweet soup", it typically incorporates apricots, dried fruit and walnuts, and is served during the Armenian Christmas and the New Year. I suppose that I can blame Mollie Katzen for the confusion, as the spelling that she gave returns no indication of the Armenian origin of the word in internet searches — it is quite possible that she was served the dish in Turkey. But in any case, do enjoy, it is one of my favorite breakfasts at any time of year.

Anooshavoor (Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge)Anooshavoor (Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge)
Recipe by
Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café
Cuisine: Turkish
Published on September 27, 2007

Sweet, creamy and wonderfully fragrant barley and dried apricot porridge spiced with cardamom and cooked slowly in a risotto style

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes

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  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider or apple juice, room temperature
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 or more dried apricots, to taste, sliced or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Rinse the barley and soak overnight in a small saucepan in the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cover. Simmer, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for 45 minutes while checking the water level (if the porridge dries, add a little more water).

  • Stir in a 1/2 cup of the apple cider. Put the cardamom pods in a tea ball and add to the saucepan along with the salt. Cover, and continue to simmer, stirring every 10 minutes as before.

  • After 20 and 40 minutes, stir in another 1/2 cup portion of the apple cider, while continuing to stir every 10 minutes. When the last portion of the apple cider has cooked in the barley for 20 minutes, you should end up with a thick, but not too thick porridge. If it's too thick for your taste, thin it with a little more apple cider. Remove the tea ball and stir in the honey and apricots, letting them settle for a few minutes so that the apricots soften.

  • Serve hot or at room temperature, topped with milk, cream or yogurt.

Makes 2 to 3 servings


Sharmi said...

is this barley different from the usual? lovely recipe.

Lisa said...

Hello Sharmi;

You could use regular barely if you like. It was a very tasty breakfast treat.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, i am sorry to bother you, but please could you tell me if 1 cup stands for 200ml or 250ml?? Thank you very much, i am used to metric measurments; in grams and ml..

Lisa Turner said...

No trouble anon. 1 cup would be about 250ml. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Anonymous said...

I have tried it today, i couldn't wait for the reply! Thank you for replying to my post.. I am always unsure whether it's 200 or 250ml.. So i'll know for the next time and bear it in mind with your other recipes. I aways get discouraged when i see cup measurements. Anooshavoor is delicious; loved it! Thanx.. Alexandra Velic.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this specialty is definitely NOT Turkish.
ANOUSH ABOUR is an ARMENIAN pudding/porridge which is traditionally prepared during Christmas and New Year.

ANOUSH ABOUR, literally translates to "Sweet Soup ".
In Armenian, ANOUSH means "sweet" and
ABOUR means "soup".

The Armenian cuisine is as ancient as its history. Armenian culinary traditions are over 3000 years old.

It is advisable that all bloggers and cookbook authors research and learn about the various food cultures before publishing any recipes.

Thank you for your attention.

Lisa Turner said...

Dear Anonymous,

I had not been aware of the Armenian origin of the recipe, but I will update the post accordingly.


Scrumptiousmunches said...

Hi Lisa,

In Turkey, this dish is called Asure, (Ashora). The Armenian name for this dish as already mentioned is Anoushabour.