Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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One night, seducing Love came beside me:
"Eat! In the name of God! I have cooked a tutmaj for you!"
Meat Broth With Noodles
An 11th century legend describes the invention of tutmaj during Alexander the Great's search for the Fountain of Youth. When his soldiers complained to him, "Bizni tutma ach" — "Don't keep us hungry!" — Alexander sought the advice of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, and tutmaj was born. Mevlana wrote often of tutmaj, i.e. noodles, in his parables of every day life, and while it's not possible to know Kira Hatun's secret recipe for her husband's tutmaj, variations on the theme of meat broth with noodles exist in modern Central Asian cuisine. The word survives in Armenian and Serbo-Croatian to describe a thick, peppery soup of broth or yogurt with noodles.
Total time : 1 hour
12 cups lamb or beef stock
1 lb. ground lamb or beef
2 eggs
1 tbsp. salt
½ tbsp. pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. minced garlic
3 cups egg noodles or broken linguine
2 eggs
½ cup yogurt
½ cup water
12 tbsp. (1-½ sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped onion
6 tbsp. dried mint

In a large soup pot, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the stock while you assemble the meatballs. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, 2 eggs, salt and pepper. Work the ingredients together with your hands, then form into walnut-sized balls. Melt the butter in a frying pan, dredge the meatballs in flour, lightly brown them in the pan, then add them to the stock. Simmer for a half-hour. Add the garlic and noodles and simmer for another 10 minutes, until the noodles are fully cooked.

Fry the chopped onion very gently in butter until golden. Sprinkle in the mint, and fry for another minute.

Beat 2 eggs together with the yogurt and a half-cup of water. Pour this mixture in a thin stream into the soup, stirring constantly in a gentle circular motion, in a single direction. Adjust the seasonings, then transfer the soup to a large serving bowl or tureen. Pour the hot onion and mint butter over each individual bowl of soup as you serve it.