Armenian Hurut

Ark of taste
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Hurut is an Armenian dish made from raw milk and left to ferment for 4-6 weeks, condensed and flavored with a mixture of herbs (mainly parsley). It has a strong, greenish, sour smell and taste. It is preserved as dry cones (originally this was the form of preservation), in jars as paste or frozen. Following the tradition, hurut is prepared once a year, in the early summer, in quantities for the entire year. This time of the year is chosen for several reasons: There is a higher amount of milk, with a high percentage of fat from free-grazing cows, there are plenty of fresh green herbs, the weather is relatively hot and suitable for the fermentation process, and the temperature is perfect for the preservation of hurut as dry cones.

This is the traditional recipe. Collect 5 liters of raw fat milk. If the milk is not fat enough, adjust it with sour cream. Divide the milk into two clean 3 L jars. Let them ferment for 4-6 weeks, at room temperature (constant temperature, over 20°C, ideally 23-25°C *), in a dark place. If it is too cold, it becomes bitter. Cover the jars with a material through which air can circulate. Stir daily, 2-3 times/day, with a wooden spoon.

This product is tasted weekly to check that the milk does not become bitter. Once sour, the milk is strained through a thick gauze into a copper boiler (cleaned with cornmeal and vinegar) and boiled over low heat. The producers hang in the milk 3-4 thyme branches with the help of a string, add 2 tablespoons of salt when the milk has dropped by half and add finely chopped parsley fresh leaves (1.5 L) and celery (a large bouquet). From this moment on, the product is stirred continuously and cooked over a low heat until it thickens into a dense mass. The whole boiling process takes 8 to 10 hours. The paste is put into a dripping cloth bag, the bag is tied and put in a pot to cool down. Once cooled, the bag is hung to drain the extra whey.

Conical shapes (starting from a cylinder obtained with the help of a sausage filler machine) are created to preserve the hurut. These cones are dried in a well-ventilated place. Alternatively, the paste can be put in jars and stored in the pantry or stored in the freezer.

This recipe was born in the "Armenian diaspora" on the current territory of Romania, being known only in the Armenian communities in our country. There is no such recipe in Armenia. It probably has its origin at Hagigadar Armenian Monastery in the village of Bulai in the commune of Moara, Suceava County.

The ‘Aganj abur’ soup (which means soup with small ears) is a veal soup with small ear-shaped pasta stuffed with minced meat (a mixture of pork and beef), seasoned with hurut. It is cooked for every great religious holiday of the Armenian community, such as on the occasion of the feasts (patron saints) of the Armenian catholic and apostolic churches, as well as on Easter and Christmas.
The ear-shaped pasta is prepared by the women and young girls of the Armenian communities for these holidays. These moments are a good opportunity to socialize, with women talking to each other on various topics of common interest. This recipe is still prepared only in a few Armenian communities from Romania: at the Hagigadar monastery, in Gheorgheni or Gherla.

Locals and tourists can enjoy the ‘Aganj abur’ soup in several restaurants/guesthouses in Romania: in Sic (near Gherla), Odorheiu Secuiesc or Pângărați (near Gheorgheni).

The situation of the Armenian community in Romania remains dire and its future uncertain. There are very few Armenians left in Romania, and the knowledge of Armenian is extremely limited (fewer than 1000 native speakers). Many of the younger Armenians actually come from mixed marriages. The economic situation of the country has failed to attract an influx of ‘new’ Armenians – as it happened in Poland or Hungary. Some of the Armenian communities, such as the 600-year old community in Roman, are almost extinct. The situation of the Armenian monuments in Romania is also critical – a few examples are the St. Mary church in Iași, the churches in Botoșani, the St. Simon church in Suceava.

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Milk and milk products

Nominated by:Claudia Rânja e Éva Kántor