Due to the warm and dry climate of South Khorasan, animal husbandry has always been more dominant than farming in this area. Therefore, it is not surprising that the most important ingredient in Khorasan Razavi province is whey, which is used differently in foods and also as a popular daily intake alone or in combination with local herbs.
The Birjandi whey dish or Qurut is the most famous food in southern Khorasan with its purple colour which has a special taste. It would be a great experience to try this dish.
This delicious food was formerly used by the general public, but the high-ranking people could not forgo Qurut as well. The main ingredient of this food, which is purple, is special Qurut (whey) of Birjand, and powdered walnut.
To get a better purple colour and change of the taste, some locals use mountain pistachios of Khorasan region instead of walnut.
According to the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department of South Khorasan province, the local dish of the southern Khorasan Province was inscribed in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List of Iran on July 14, 2018. The inscription came after the setting of Birjandi purple sufra and serving Qurut for 1,200 Birjandis residing in Tehran.
Qurut is served in both hot and cold forms. To prepare hot Qurut, they mix some onions or fried garlic with a little salt, black pepper and cinnamon, then add whey to it. Before getting boiled, it is taken off the heat and is ready to be served.
First, they should moisten the hard whey in water for one hour, and then empty the water and put the whey pieces that are now softened in a special container called “whey grinder”, which is hollow with rough walls. After that, they pour powdered walnut on whey pieces, and start to rub them into the wall of the container using their hand palms. They also slowly add water to get a liquid mixture. Then they pour oil in a pot and sauté onions. Some also add chopped mint to fried onions. When the onions get fried, they add the mixture of whey, walnut or mountain pistachio, saffron, water and cinnamon to onions and heat a bit.
Now Qurut is ready. They pour it into a bowl and mix it with Sangak bread or Komaj which is a local type of bread in South Khorasan. Sometimes, hot Qurut is served with eggplants, potatoes, zucchini and cooked vegetables like spinach.