Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Surim or Surum - A Forgotten Food

When it comes to Armenian dishes, I seem to always select the one that is "not authentic".  I say that because my neighbor, whom you will remember is Armenian and a fantastic cook, will ever so politely let me know that this may just be a dish that she has never heard of....and, since it can't be found in any of her numerous Armenian cookbooks either, I could surmise that this dish might be an Armenian-American dish.  Maybe it was dubbed Armenian because the family was Armenian and in the 50s the mom was trying to come up a dish that would appeal to kids when they wanted Mac and Cheese for dinner just like their friends at school were having.  It is a thought.....

While that sounds feasible, I decided to do some more digging.  I do love to research and guess what I learned?  This is a for-real dish!  I found it spelled Surum and it was referenced as a "forgotten food"!!  Wait until I tell my neighbor that I found it.

I was reading a post on the Armenian Kitchen that shared a journal entry by Dr. Carolann Najarian. Dr Najarian was active in establishing medical facilities, assistance and training to various regions in Armenia.  On one of her trips, the guide shared with them that they would be served two local specialties at mealtime.  One of them was surum.  Dr. Najarian was thrilled, she described her childhood memories of the dish:
For years we have enjoyed surum (or serim) in or family, but today, few people are familiar with this dish - it is not in any recipe book or on any menu.  It is a forgotten food!  ...I simply could not believe that surum was here, in this desolate town.  During the summer, on the days our grandmother baked the flat round bread on the sheet of zinc - the sahye - over the outdoor fire, she would make surum for lunch.  Some of the flat rounds of bread would be cooked until thoroughly dried and hard making it possible to store the breads for weeks while others were taken off the sahye while still soft.  These she rolled and placed in a large baking pan layered with garlic, butter, and with her own madzoon (yogurt), and then baked.  This is surum!
The traditional method of preparing this dish is labor intensive and may just "take a village" but today with pasta readily available it is a simple side dish that can be enjoyed often.




Surum - The Forgotten Food
adapted from the Gutsy Gourmet and the Armenian Kitchen

Yield:  4-6 servings

3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 Tbsp. butter
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1 pound orrichetti or other small pasta that will hold the sauce
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Saute the garlic in butter.  Do not brown.  When the garlic is soft and translucent, add the yogurt slowly so that it does not curdle.

Add the feta cheese and stir to melt.

Boil the pasta in salted water following package directions.  Drain and place in a serving bowl.

Pour the sauce over the freshly cooked and toss.

Sprinkle the top with the chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Note:  There is not normally cheese in Surum.  It is usually served with just the garlic-yogurt sauce. This recipe included Feta among the ingredients.  If you decide to add the Feta, it is recommended that salt not be added as Feta is usually quite salty.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


We really enjoyed this side dish.  It is one that I will definitely make again!  Delicious!!

6 comments:

  1. It must be delicious!
    Pasta..feta..yogurt..garlic:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a new one to me but it's so pretty and the ingredients are great together.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd never heard of this dish but I like everything in it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kate, Thanks for the food history lesson and the recipe. It's nice to see something really different from the norm... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Kate,
    I can't wait to try this dish, it looks like something that we will just love. Your post is awesome and thanks so much for sharing it with Full Plate Thursday!
    Happy Spring!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  6. It looks and sounds sooooo good.

    ReplyDelete