Yayla Çorbası (Turkish Yogurt Soup) with Velibah


Although most Turks will opt for a pillowy square of pide bread to accompany this soup of yogurt, barley, and dried mint, buttery-crisp velibah stuffed with feta and potato is a go-to for editor Oset Babür's family, who hails from Ossetia, a state in the South Caucasus.

Active Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
8 to 10 serves


Velibah Filling

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • .025 cup finely chopped yellow onion

  • 1 ½ ounces feta cheese, crumbled into small pieces (about ⅓ cup)

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper


  • 6 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup uncooked pearl barley (about 7 ounces)

  • 1 cup drained and rinsed canned chickpeas

  • 32 ounce plain whole-milk yogurt (about 3½ cups)

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 2 cups cold water

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Dried mint leaves and black Urfa biber (Urfa pepper), for garnish

Velibah Dough

  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk, warmed

  • ¼ cup warm water

  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast

  • 4 all-purpose flour (about 17 ounces), divided, plus more for work surface

  • 1 kosher salt

  • 3 olive oil, divided

  • 3 unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces, divided

  • ¾ flaky sea salt, divided


Make the velibah filling

  1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Stir in 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Add potato pieces; boil, uncovered, until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; transfer potato to a small bowl. Mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth.

  2. Heat oil in a large (12-inch) stainless steel skillet over medium-low. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add onion to mashed potato in bowl; stir in feta, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Season with additional salt to taste. Let stand at room temperature until ready to use, up to 3 hours. Wipe skillet clean.

Make the soup

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Stir in barley. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender, about 30 minutes.

  2. Stir chickpeas into barley. Whisk together yogurt, flour, and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 2 cups cold water until well combined. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into barley mixture; stir to combine. Cover and cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until slightly simmering, 6 to 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.

While yogurt soup is cooking, make the velibah dough

  1. Stir together warm milk, 1/4 cup warm water, powdered sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Add 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated after each addition. Stir in kosher salt. Add remaining 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until mostly incorporated after each addition, to form a shaggy dough. Knead in bowl until a sticky dough forms, about 2 minutes. Cover bowl with a towel; let stand at room temperature until dough is slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.

  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; divide into 3 (10-ounce) pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping remaining dough covered, gently roll dough into a 10-inch circle (about 1/3 inch thick). Mound about 1/4 cup velibah filling in center of circle. Gather outer edges of dough up and in toward center over filling, pleating dough into folds to create a purse. Shape into a ball; gently flatten. Roll into a 10-inch circle (about 1/3 inch thick). Repeat process using remaining dough and filling.

  3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to cleaned stainless steel skillet over medium; swirl to coat. Gently fold 1 dough circle (velibah) in half (this helps avoid tears in the dough and reduces splattering); place in skillet, and unfold. Fry until golden brown and lightly puffed, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet;rub top of velibah with 1 butter piece until melted. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt. Cut into wedges. Wipe skillet clean; repeat process with remaining oil, velibah, butter, and flaky sea salt.

  4. Reheat yogurt soup over low until warm, 5 to 10 minutes, if needed. Garnish with mint and Urfa biber; serve with hot velibah.

    Yayla Çorbası (Turkish Yogurt Soup) with Velibah
    Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Make Ahead

Velibah filling can be chilled in an airtight container up to 5 days.

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