Spas Soup


Spas Soup, also known as Tanabour,  is a nourishing, comforting Armenian yogurt and barley soup.  Some families will prepare this soup if someone isn't feeling well, as it's believed to help cure colds and stomachaches.  Whether or not it truly has any healing power, the delicious rich taste mingled with the tender grains of barley, make this a wholly satisfying meal.  

Spas Soup

I personally love the onion, garlic and dried mint seasonings.  I also love to garnish my bowl of soup with Aleppo pepper and chopped fresh cilantro.  I tried other herbs, but cilantro is my personal preference. If you don't stock Aleppo pepper, you could also sprinkle red pepper flakes or a tiny bit of paprika (or both).  I felt that other fresh herbs, including fresh mint––which tastes very different from dried mint––was too over powering.

This soup is traditionally eaten both warmed up and cold, so it makes a great option any time of year. When warming it up, be sure not to overheat it, or you risk curdling the yogurt.  (Although, with the inclusion of an egg and the way you temper the yogurt mixture, the soup is not supposed to curdle.)

Spas Tanabour Armenian Yogurt and Barley Soup

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Spas Soup?

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Ingredients for Spas Soup

How Do I Make Spas Soup?

Melt the butter with the extra light olive oil over low heat in a saucepan. Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft and translucent.  Add the pearl barley, dried mint, minced garlic, salt, pepper and sugar and sauté a couple of minutes more until fragrant.  Pour in the chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes or until the barley is tender and chewy.

Saute butter olive oil and onion for spas soup

Meanwhile, whisk together 2 cups of greek yogurt (whole fat) and 1 egg.  If you want a lighter meal, you could use a low fat greek yogurt.

Yogurt Egg Mixture for Spas Soup

When the barley mixture is ready, add two ladlefuls of it to the yogurt mixture, whisking constantly.  Then add the new yogurt egg mixture back to the pot of barley. 

Whisk all the ingredients together and bring to a very low simmer for 5 minutes.  At this temperature, you will just barely see tiny bubbles slowly breaking the surface. Use a candy thermometer to ensure that your mixture does not exceed 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

adding a ladleful of spas soup to yogurt mixture

If desired, you can garnish a serving of Spas Soup with a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper and chopped fresh cilantro. 

a spoonful of Spas soup

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