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Assyrian Yogurt & Barley Porridge "Girdoo"

Girdoo is a traditional Assyrian porridge made with rice and homemade yogurt.
This savory and tangy dish wasn’t always made with rice. According to texts, rice wasn’t introduced or cultivated in Mesopotamia until c.550 – 330 BCE. Ancient Assyrians were actually enjoying their yogurt and cereal dishes with barley, wheat, and emmer—their staple crops.
Girdoo is the ultimate comfort served up in a bowl. The grains disappear into the yogurt as it’s simmered and stirred into a creamy thick consistency.
In this recipe, we will follow the ancient method of using barley instead of rice.

Yields: 6 - 8 servings


5 cups plain yogurt (whole milk)
4 cups water, plus more as needed
1 cup pearl barley (rinsed)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter 
Salt to taste 


Whisk yogurt with water in a bowl to thin it out.

Add yogurt and barley to a large heavy-bottomed stock pot. Place pot over medium-high heat and slowly bring to a gentle boil, while constantly stirring for about 15-20 minutes.

Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, while stirring the entire time, to prevent the barley from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Continue to cook for about 30-40 minutes. Stir in your butter and season with salt.


Check the consistency. If it’s thinner, simmer longer, until the barley is cooked and the yogurt has thickened. If it’s thicker, and the barley isn’t fully cooked, then add more hot water to your pot and continue to stir.

Serve warm with melted butter drizzled on top. If you prefer a sweet variation, drizzle honey or date syrup on top. 

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