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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 hail from Ossetia, a state in the South Caucasus.

January 2021


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

2 hrs
1 hr 45 mins
8 to 10 serves


Velibah Filling
Velibah Dough


Make the velibah filling
  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

Make Ahead

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