Don’t get surprised when you hear the voice of a street vendor selling boza in cold evenings in Turkey. I feel like I’m in a time machine travelling to old days, to Ottoman Empire times whenever I hear his voice on our street. It was known as a great drink to warm and strengthen your body, so it was one of the ultimate foods for the Ottoman army. You don’t feel cold and you get stronger as you drink boza! What’s more, it is suggested to new moms since it increases breastmilk quite lot.
So what is boza? It is a malt drink made from bulgur and it’s so rich in carbs. It’s almost as thick as a pudding with a sweet and tart flavor. You might find it weird when you first try it, but then you easily become addicted before you realize!
Boza is one of those very traditional drinks and it’s typically sold in Winter although it’s not a hot drink. It’s associated with cold days and snow because it has a warming effect, but I think it would be a great summer drink too since it’s served cold.
There are some very famous boza producers in Turkey and the most famous one is Vefa around the country. Although it’s not as famous, there is a local shop in Eskisehir called Karakedi Bozacisi and I find their boza even better! You should see how that tiny shop gets full in winter. There are no chairs or tables in this shop, people just stop by and grab one of glasses filled with this amazing pudding like drink on the counter. They don’t even need to give order, vendors prepare the glasses beforehand so that the customers can easily take one and enjoy their drink standing.
Boza is traditionally served in typical Turkish water glasses with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas on the top. A dessert spoon is just dipped into it and you can either drink it or eat it or do both depending on your craving.
We don’t prefer making boza at home since we have a great producer in our town and it’s even sold at most of the supermarkets in Turkey, but I’m going to share the recipe of it for those who are away from Turkey and don’t have chance to buy it prepared.
A perfect warming drink from bulgur.
- 6 cups bulgur
- ½ cup rice
- 15 cups water
- ½ tsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups extra sugar
- Cinnamon and roasted chickpeas for topping
- Wash bulgur and rice very well and boil them until tender.
- Mash them in a strain and throw the dregs away.
- Wait it away from sun for about 2 hours without covering.
- Mix 2 tbsp sugar and yeast with 1 cup water and add into the pot. Cover it with the lid.
- Wait it this way for about 20 hours stirring once in a while.
- Add the rest of the sugar after 20 hours and mix.
- Keep it in refrigerator.