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Kashk Recipe- Learn How To Make Creamy Kashk At Home

Kashk Recipe- Learn How To Make Creamy Kashk At Home

If you have developed a taste for Central Asian dairy products and snacks and you like preparing exotic fermented dairy drinks that won you over during your last trip, you’ll probably enjoy this post. Here, we’ll share the traditional kashk recipe and show you everything you need to know about this snack/drink, including its origin, variations, and much more. But first things first…

What Is Kashk?

kashk recipe
by Tuninait CC by SA GNU 1.2

When someone says kashk, they can refer to a range of dairy products that can be found in Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Turkey, and the Transcaucasian region. Usually, kashk is made of drained yogurt or drained sour milk by shaping and drying it. Kashk is available in several different forms, including curdled milk-based products (i.e. cheese and yogurt), flour-based snacks (i.e. nan or barley broth), and cereal-based products combined with curdled milk.

In its most common form, kashk is a full-fat yogurt that’s cooked until most of the liquid evaporates. After this, the liquid is strained through a cheesecloth and the pulp is rehydrated with salt and water until it reaches a consistency that closely resembles a thick sauce.

In western literature, kashk is usually referred to as liquid whey but this isn’t very accurate. To put it simply, liquid whey is the leftover liquid that remains after the process of curdling and straining is complete while kashk represents the actual curds that appear when cooking the yogurt.

Kashk Origin

handmade kashk
by Bablekan CC by SA 3.0

Traditionally, kashk appeared as a fermented food prepared from grain mixed with either yogurt or sour milk. The kashk recipe likely originates from Persia and its first mention in history books dates back to the Early Middle Ages. It’s likely that the traditional recipe consisted of porridge of fermented grains with whey and it was dried under the sun. Its nutritional value and long shelf life made kashk a life-changer for many travelers, and passing merchants, but also for local peasants during the winter months when food supply was severely limited.

In modern times, however, the kashk recipe has been modified and altered greatly. There are many different variations. Kashk can be served as a separate dish of dried buttermilk (crumbled and turned into a paste by mixing with water), it can be served as a fermented drink, a topping, and some people even use it to thicken soups and stews and improve their flavor (the most notable example of this is the Persian eggplant dish kashk e bademjan).

History

kashk recipe
by Adam Harangozó CC by SA 4.0

Kashk is most commonly found in the cuisines of Iran, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Syria, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. This makes kashk one of the rare dishes that spread across such a large geographic area that contains many different language groups. That’s why in some countries, you’ll hear the name kashk (Persian), kishk (Arabic), kesk (Turkish, Kurdish), qurut (Kazakh, Turkmen, Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Kyrgyz, and Pashto), chortan (Armenian), and khuruud (Mongolian).

The first written mention of the kashk recipe (at least one that’s still available) can be found in a 10th-century Arabic cookbook. According to the cookbook, by the 10th century, there were two common types of kashk, one made of wheat and leaven and another made of sour milk.

Kashk is often mentioned in literature. There aren’t many written sources that have been saved but kashk is mentioned in a 19th-century Armenian poem that’s based on an 8th-century oral tradition which indicates that kashk has been a part of people’s lives for a long time.

According to the Persian Shahnameh (10th-century book of Kings), the word kashk was used to describe a mixture of barley flour and cracked wheat. Based on this, it’s likely that the first versions of kashk contained a mix of leaven and either water or fermented milk/yogurt. This theory also aligns well with another theory that assumes that the dairy kashk was first made by medieval Iranian-speaking pastoralists. The fact that they used dried sour milk as a staple and had limited access to barley just further confirms this theory.

But throughout the years, as kashk was popularized among the many different nomadic groups that stay in this part of Asia, the traditional kashk recipe experienced many modifications that lead to many different…

Kashk Variations

kashk recipe
by Syrinje CC by SA 3.0

As we mentioned in the beginning, kashk comes in a variety of forms. It can be sliced into strips, rolled into balls, formed into chunks, or it can also be consumed as a liquid. In addition to this, kashk also has a lot of regional variations and we’ll do our best to briefly cover all of them.

If you like some more creamy and salty dairy-based recipes, you may also want to check out our ayran recipe and our kaymak recipe.

Iranian Kashk

In Iran, kashk is typically a thick liquid with a texture similar to sour cream or whey but it’s also available in a liquid or dried form. The dried form needs to be soaked to soften before using it for cooking. Traditionally, in Iran, the creamy delicacy is prepared by subtracting butter from milk (doogh) and using the mixture as a base for preparing kashk.

Central Asian Qurut

In most Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan, kashk is known as qurut (or a similar local variation). In Tajikistan, it’s a national dish. In Afghanistan is a base ingredient (alongside rice and mung beans) for preparing kichree qurut that many consider being a national dish. In most other countries, qurut is salted before eating but in Mongolia, you can find a qurut in different flavors, and it’s even used as a base for making a quirky local candy.  

Turkish Keş

In Turkey, kashk has the form of a dried yogurt. In different parts of Turkey, you can see this product referred to as kurut, tas yogurt, kes peyniri, katik kesi, or kuru yogurt. In the northern and western parts of Turkey, the product looks similar to white cheese. In the eastern part of Turkey, the product is known as kurut and is very similar to Central Asian qurut. In Turkey, all versions of kashk are salty.

Caucasian Matzoon (Mats’oni)

Versions of kashk are also available in Armenia (matzoon) and Georgia (mats’oni). In both countries, it’s used for the production of butter because when churned, it separates from the buttermilk. After this, you can also boil the buttermilk and obtain tasty ricotta cheese.

Arabic Variations

In the Arabian Peninsula, Lebanon, and Palestine, kishk is a powdery cereal made of cracked with and fermented milk and/or yogurt, usually from goat milk. Kishk is traditionally prepared during autumn and is stored and consumed throughout the winter. The preparation starts with mixing, milk, laban (yogurt), and burghul and letting the mixture ferment for 9-10 days. Every morning, the mixture should be kneaded, and on the final day, it’s spread on a clean cloth and left to dry before being rubbed until the mixture reduces to powder.  

Storing Kashk

storing kashk
by klaus-Norbert CC by SA 3.0

Once prepared, people usually store kashk in small containers. Alternatively, you can use ice cube trays too if you want to prepare the ball-shaped kashk that looks like candy. If you’re storing kashk in the fridge, it can stay there for up to a week. If you’re storing kashk in the freezer, it can stay there for up to 3 months.

A Few More Things You May Need

Yield: 10 Cups

Kashk Recipe

kashk recipe

In this post, we’ll share the traditional kashk recipe and show you everything you need to know about this snack/drink, including its origin, variations, and much more

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 42-ounces plain, sour yogurt
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 3 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

1. Combine the yogurt (you can use European-style plain yogurt), water, and salt and blend the mixture until it becomes smooth and the salt dissolves. This shouldn’t take more than 60-90 seconds.

2. Add the mixture to a pot and set it over high heat.

3. Once it starts boiling, start stirring constantly so that the mixture doesn’t overflow.

4. After that, reduce to medium heat and let it simmer for approximately 2 hours. Don’t forget to stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

5. After 2-2 and a half hours, the yogurt will start separating and develop a distinct smell and curdled pieces of yogurt will start rising to the top.

6. Keep the pot on medium-low heat until most of the water evaporates. This should leave a thick batch of curd in the pot.

7. When this happens, remove the pot from heat and let it cool down for a few minutes.

8. Take a large bowl and place a fine-mesh strainer over it. Use several layers of tightly woven cheesecloth (or a nut milk bag) to drain the mixture from the pot. Once you pour everything, let it strain for one minute. What remains in the cloth is the kashk but save the liquid part just in case it’s necessary to thin out the kashk.  

9. Once this is done, add the kashk back to the blender and blend it until it becomes smooth.

10.  You might need to drizzle in the saved liquid a few drops at a time if you’re struggling to reach the desired consistency.

11.  Taste and add more salt if necessary.

12.  The final kashk should have the consistency of strained yogurt.

13.  Store the kashk in a small container, cover it, and keep it in the fridge before
serving.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 Cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 6.5gSaturated Fat: 0.3gTrans Fat: 0.2gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 9gNet Carbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 7.2gProtein: 9g

Did you every try kashk? How did you like our kashk recipe? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and if you tried making it, don’t forget to leave us a rating!

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Joanna

Friday 29th of October 2021

I am abut to make Kashk for the first time. I am based in the UK and I am wondering what type of yoghurt you would recommend? what % fat content for example?

thanks!

The Food Hog

Saturday 30th of October 2021

Hi Joanna, thank you for your comment. To answer your question, I have also made it using Greek full-fat yogurt, containing 10 grams of fat in total, out of which 7 grams of saturated fat. Honestly, I didn't pay much attention at the % and I don't know what different kinds of full-fat yogurt are there in the UK but I hope I at least partially answered your question :)

Roxana Karimianpour

Saturday 28th of August 2021

Hello.

Thanks for teaching how to make homemade kashk. I have 2 questions please.

1. Can I boil yogurt or sour cream instead of doogh in order to expedite the process of making kashk faster?

2. Can I add some unsweetened butter or heavy whipped cream to the boiling yogurt to make a richer flavor and thicker kashk?

Thanks,

Roxana

The Food Hog

Friday 3rd of September 2021

Hi Roxana, thank you for your comment and for your question. Our recipe sticks to the traditional way of making kashk but your suggestions sound nice. I think it's doable and I would encourage you to try it :)

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