Ayran

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Ayran

Ayran or airan (from Turkish ayran) is a drink made of yoghurt and water, popular in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Lebanon, Bulgaria and other parts of the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central Asia. It is similar to Armenian tahn and Iranian doogh, though doogh can be naturally-carbonated. In Cyprus, it is referred to as ayrani.

Ayran is a mixture of yoghurt, water, and salt. It is thought to have originated as a way of preserving yogurt by adding salt.

It can also be made with cucumber juice in place of some or all of the water, or flavoured with garlic. 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 flavour of salt water and is often consumed in large quantities at Turkish eateries.

Ayran is so popular in Turkey that it rivals the sales of the juice and soda industries. International fast-food companies, such as McDonald's, include Ayran in their standard menu. In Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, it is available in most restaurants and fast-food shops. In other countries, it may be found at döner kebab outlets. In the United States, it is available in Turkish, Persian, Armenian and other Middle Eastern stores under the names ayran, doogh, or tahn.

Ayran is served cool, and is a common accompaniment to döner, kebab, banitsa, gözleme, or pastry. Some forms of fresh ayran are foamy.