Ayran or airan is a drink made of yogurt and water, popular in parts of the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Ayran is a mixture of yogurt, water, and salt. It is thought to have originated as a way of preserving yogurt by adding salt. It is rumored to be a hangover cure.
It can also be made with cucumber juice in place of some or all of the water, or flavored with garlic.
It is a thin drink which is often covered in a fine foam. Ayran is traditionally served cool, and it may be shaken or whisked right before it is served to ensure that it is frothy.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
To make: Mix yogurt and water in blender until well blended. Add salt if desired. Start off with an 1/8 teaspoon salt and work your way up.
It may be seasoned with black pepper, although this is uncommon in Bulgaria, where ayran is also often served without salt. Another recipe popular in some regions includes finely chopped mint leaves mixed into the ayran. In countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, extra salt is added to give the drink the flavor of salt water and is often consumed in large quantities at Turkish eateries. In Turkey cucumber is cut into very small pieces and added to ayran or diluted yogurt with garlic to make cacik.
Conserving and Storing
It is a milk product, so store in the refrigerator. If homemade or opened, store in a tightly lidded container for up to a week.