What is krut?
Krut is a flavorful, nutritious, and very long-lasting food. It's enjoyed as a regional delicacy primarily in Southern Afghanistan and Southwest Pakistan. As a store of nutrition, it's more efficient in terms of space saved, and longer-lived than cheese, the traditional Western way to preserve milk. The word krut, or کړُت, is pronounced /kɺ̢ʊt/ when written in the International Phonetic Alphabet.
To make krut, you will need:
- Fresh, raw goat's milk, about two US gallons will yield a softball sized piece of krut.
- A leather bag large with a drawstring, large enough to hold the entire volume of milk (thin sheep or goat leather works best, it needs to be porous!)
- Brutally unforgiving sun and desiccating desert winds
1. Preheat sun to 11000ºF, and ensure that harsh winds are blowing year-round. Burning grit and haze are fine.
2. Pour the milk into the large, porous, drawstring leather bag.
3. Hang the bag up in direct sun until at least a week passes with no detectable moisture sweating through the bag. This is the point at which the goat's milk has curdled into a single, slowly hardening mass and the porous bag will no longer effectively leech plasma from it. The time it will take to get to this point will be dependent on volume of milk, temperature, relative humidity, etc. but will probably take three or more weeks. Do not be alarmed by the smell of this process. It's supposed to smell that way. It is recommended that you process krut nowhere near where people live.
4. Once the bag has stopped sweating, place the curd in direct sun, and allow to further cure into a solid, stonelike mass of decay. This may take up to a week. Don't worry about pests or other animals getting after the krut - not even flies will mess with it. You'll want to wait until it is totally dry, and dense enough that you have a hard time figuring out whether it's a rock or not except by smell.
There are several ways to prepare krut. The most common is to scrape it against a rock to form a half handful of krut powder, then rehydrate into a thin slurry. This is most often used when the food is perfectly good, and doesn't smell or taste enough like the bottom of a New York City dumpster for your liking.
Some Afghans break off a small chunk of krut and either suck on it like hard candy, or drop it into a pot of weak, despicably sweet green tea to mask the redeeming qualities of unrefined sugar.
If you can get past the smell of something that by all rights should have as much odor as a chunk of granite, but literally smells worse than a combination of a month's caked on body odor and a pile of rotting goat carcasses (it was the krut vs. us and the village), you have a braver palate than 9 out of 10 non-Afghans I've ever seen try.
If you can keep a piece of krut in your mouth for longer than it takes the reflex response against poison to spit it out of your mouth, you have a stronger will than half of the people who make it that far.
If you can actually consume krut sauce, per the first preparation in the recipe, and not throw up from the taste of krut fumes that worm their way up from your now-tainted stomach, you are of stronger constitution than I.
For more fun with Central Asian milk products, see: Arkhi