A variety of herbs are used in dovga, according to taste. Coriander, dill and mint are mainstays of the soup. Chervil and mountain parsley, when available, make a delicious dovga. Spring onions or sorrel can also be used but tend to dominate the other, more delicate, flavours.
Preparation time: 40-45 min
Cooking time: 40 min
- 2 litres/4.2 pints thick plain yoghurt
- 1 litre/2.1 pints water
- ½ glass of chickpeas
- 1 egg
- 50 g/2 oz plain flour
- 50 g/2 oz short grain rice (the more rice, the thicker the dovga)
- large bunches of chervil, coriander, dill, mint, mountain parsley, spinach leaves or beet tops, celery tops and young wild leeks
- Soak the dried chickpeas overnight in cold water. Rinse. Put in a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Don't overcook as they will cook further in the dovga.
- Wash and finely chop the herbs (in some Azerbaijani villages, roughly chopped herbs are preferred for dovga).
- Put 1 glass of yoghurt into a bowl, break the egg into it and mix well. Add the flour and rice and mix until the flour has been absorbed.
- Put the mixture and the rest of the yoghurt in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gradually add the water and stir well. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
- When the dovga has come to the boil, add the chopped herbs. Bring back to the boil and simmer until the rice is cooked, around 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Don't add salt until the dovga is cooked and taken off the heat, or add only when serving. Adding salt during the cooking process can cause the dovga to curdle.
- Serve dovga warm or cold.
- Dovga can also have meat added to it. For the meaty version, use meat broth rather than water to dilute the yoghurt. Fry minced lamb with the chick peas and shape into small balls. Add the meatballs and chickpeas to the dovga at the end of the cooking process.