Matzoon, a type of Armenian yogurt, is something every Armenian likes eating. Armenian make drinks and dishes out of the matzoon. It is very popular in Armenia.
Matzoon is a fermented milk product of Armenian origin also known as Armenian yoghurt. Matzoon is one of the most used products in Armenia and not only for its taste but also for its healthfulness. It is a conventional ingredient of Armenian and Georgian cuisines.
Basics of Armenian Matzoon Yogurt
Armenian yogurt has a history of many centuries. It had become very popular all around Caucasian area. The texture of matzoon is somewhat similar to Greek yogurt, but its taste is a little different. It has firm consistency and acidic flavor and can be used for deserts or the main meal.
Armenian matzoon is mostly made of cow’s milk, but goat, sheep and even buffalo milk can be used. The product’s name originates from the Armenian word “matz” which means “a clotted, gluey mass”. Matzoon has been often mentioned by medieval Armenian writers. It has high biochemical properties and lactic acid that neutralises all negative bacteria and increases appetite.
Armenian yogurt also contains D, B, and A vitamins, amino acids, proteins, minerals, particularly phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Matzoon has a great influence on intestinal microflora, which makes it an irreplaceable healthy product for everyday use.
It can be surprising how often Armenians use matzoon. It is good in any season: in summertime it is perfect for making cold drinks or refreshing sauces for vegetable salads, while in a colder weather there are many uses for matzoon, as an ingredient in hot dishes or cakes and pies.
Actually, it is easy to find Armenian yogurt in supermarkets, but not everybody has tried home-made matzoon. Its fat and calorie content is usually higher than the one produced in a factory, but it is worth to try.
How Armenians Make Matzoon Yogurt
If there is no Armenian yogurt around, it is fine to use Greek yogurt instead. So what do we need? Milk, just a small cup of yogurt and patience.
The making of matzoon is easy: 1 liter of boiled milk set to cool down to 40°C, which then should be carefully mixed with 100-200 ml of yogurt (for the first time you can use yeast or fermented cream instead).
Keep the container with this liquid in a warm place wrapped in a blanket or a towel for 6-8 hours.
How to check if it is ready? Open the container, slightly turn or tilt it to see if the liquid became a single, firm jelly-like mass, if so, place it in a refrigerator for one hour.
Enjoy your first homemade matzoon!
What do Armenians serve with Matzoon?
Armenians drink matzoon with bread or lavash. But is also often used as a sauce for dolma, spinach and many other Armenian dishes from local greens.
- One of the most popular summer drinks from matzoon is ”Matsnabrdosh”. If you have no appetite, it is perfect just to refresh yourself. The recipe of ”Matsnabrdosh” is as follows:
- stir 1 litre of matzoon to get a fluid consistency
- mix it with a bunch of chopped dill or parsley (mint will work, too), 1 chopped cucumber and salt.
- Mix all the ingredients well
- If the consistence is still too firm for your taste; you can add up to 500 ml. of water.
- Have some refreshing ”Matsnabrdosh” and keep the rest of it in the refrigerator.
- For those who are too lazy there is yet another refreshing drink that has an even easier preparation. It is called ”tan” and is the same matzoon mixed with water and salt. This plain drink has gained public love and is drunk on any occasion. It is also said to be perfect for a hangover.
- One of the most served delicacies in Yerevan restaurants is the ”stuffed eggplant”, where the filling consists of Armenian yogurt mixed with squeezed walnut.
- And last but not least, matzoon is the main ingredient in Armenian soup ”Spas” which is very popular and can be served both hot or cold.
Why is this Armenian Yogurt So Special?
Armenian Yogurt Characteristic #1: Calming effect
The healthfulness of matzoon is widely known all around Caucasus. Armenian yogurt serves as a wonderful remedy for people with hypertension, as it reduces high blood pressure and softens the seizure. Moreover, people suffering from insomnia drink a pint of matzoon before sleep for its calming qualities. Thus if you have chronic high blood pressure, adding matzoon to your everyday menu will improve your health. To enhance the effect of matzoon it is consumed with cinnamon or mineral water.
Matzoon is also a very good for those who have stomach and intestinal problems. Just do not forget to consult your doctor before the long term use.
Armenian Yogurt Characteristic #2: Vitamins
Many components of Armenian yogurt greatly contribute to the body’s detoxification and cleansing. As matzoon is full of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium it helps to recover your body, hair, nails and teeth. You can, actually, see the difference in a month. It is known that a doctor from Constantinople cured the early senility of the French king Francisco the First, using just matzoon.
Armenian Yogurt Characteristic #3: Good for skin
Nowadays there are many folk remedies, masks and body lotions made of matzoon. Armenian yogurt is often used for burns, bee and scorpion stings or snake bites. Although it can help to calm the pain in listed cases, its effect shouldn’t be overvalued, as it is not a substantial cure to serious injuries.
Why You Should Choose Matzoon Yogurt?
Many countries have dairy products similar to Armenian yogurt. Matzoon like many other fine inventions, was actually discovered unintentionally. Fresh milk was accidentally poured over some old and already fermented milk or cream, and after a while there was matzoon, a new dairy product. It came out to be both pleasant in taste and good for the body. This is why it was lovingly adopted to the everyday national Armenian cuisine.
All Armenian dishes with matzoon are very different and each of them is worth to try. Don’t be afraid to put on weight, because matzoon is also used for dietetic purposes and is, overall, doesn’t contain too much calories. There are diets where Armenian yogurt is the main meal. If you want to try this diet, don’t forget about the effects of matzoon and beware not to lower your blood pressure too much.
Altogether, matzoon is an inherent part of Armenian cuisine and culture, so upon your visit to Armenia don’t miss the chance to try the local yogurt in its many healthy and tasty forms!
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