Recipe Corner H. Ronnie Henesian’s Tourshi by Kim Henesian


“My mother, Hysmig “Ronnie” Giragosian Henesian, was born on May 11, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan. She was raised from the age of 2 by her paternal grandmother, Gulumia Giragosian, while her parents, Charles and Sofia worked in their dry cleaning and tailoring shop. To my recollection, my mother’s grandmother did not teach her how to cook nor did her mother who was busy managing the family business. As with many first generation Armenian-Americans, families worked hard to survive and prosper in this new country. My mother was a self-taught cook, and she learned along the way. She learned how to cook by referring to various Armenian cookbooks, and through trial and error.”

“Seeking a warmer climate and better career opportunities, my mother and father departed Detroit with their young son, and arrived in California in 1952. My parents were one of the founding members of the St. Andrew Armenian Church in Cupertino, California. My mother held executive board positions in the Ladies Society for at least 25 years. Of her many accomplishments in the Ladies Society, she was proud of her active role in compiling and documenting recipes for the creation of The New Armenian Kitchen Cookbook.”

“My mother and Marion Paparigian were also the first women to serve on a Parish Council in the Western Diocese. For years, our mother worked diligently on behalf of the St. Andrew Armenian Church, and was awarded with the St. Nerses Shnorali Gold Medal for her exemplary service in October 2003.”

In her introduction to the New Armenian Kitchen Cookbook, Vera Sarkissian, the original cookbook chairman said, “Many people deserve thanks for helping to make this cookbook a reality. First, thanks to those who, through their generous spirit, allowed us to share in their legacy of family recipes. Their high standards of culinary preparation – and revelation of “secret” recipes – contributed greatly to making this book a treasure to cherish for many years. Thanks to our committee and especially to Mary-Louise Essaian, Arlene Hancock, H. Ronnie Henesian, and Lucille Kuzirian for a spectacular job of collecting recipes. Thanks to my Ladies Society Co-Chairman Florence Janjigian for all the support and help in innumerable areas of this book.”

“Our mother was famous for her Armenian bourma which was sold at the St. Andrew Armenian Church Food Festivals,” says Kim. “And for her delicious tourshi. Her bottles of tourshi were often auctioned at Daughters of Vartan events to raise money for that organization. Her background and history demonstrates that one does not necessarily require formal training or education to become a really great cook.”

“This was one of our mother’s tourshi recipes, she often made it for family dinners and Ladies Society events and fundraisers,” adds Kim. Ronnie passed away in 2019, but her love of entertaining, creating memorable recipes for her family, and her commitment to St. Andrew Armenian Church and Ladies Society is remembered. Her recipe is reprinted in her memory, with thanks to her daughter Kim, and sons Mark and Kirk.

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This brine is enough for 9 quarts of tourshi. This recipe can be cut in halves or quarters for lesser amounts. Approximate vegetable requirements for a full recipe include: 2 medium cauliflower, 2 medium cabbage, 8 or 9 medium carrots, cut into strips, 1 pound fresh green beans, celery, sliced green tomatoes, quartered sweet yellow peppers, sliced pickling cucumbers or Armenian cucumbers, in any combination:


2 quarts white distilled vinegar

4 quarts water

1 cup canning salt (not iodized or plain salt)

1 cup dried garbanzo beans (to aid in the souring process)

1 large head garlic (optional)



Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil until salt is dissolved. Let stand until lukewarm. Wash jars thoroughly. (It is not necessary to use regular canning jars, any jar with a good lid is fine.)

Place newly washed, wet bottles, upside down on rack in the oven. Warm oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes only. Turn off heat. Wash and cut up vegetables. Remove hot jars, 1 or 2 at a time. Place on a towel to prevent cracking. Allow jars to cool off until manageable. Place a small handful of dried garbanzo beans and desired garlic in bottom of jar. Arrange vegetables in the jar.

Pour lukewarm brine into jar. Move jar around to distribute brine. Stuff more vegetables tightly into jar at this point. Place lids in pan of water and heat to boiling point. Turn off heat.

Clean top of jar and tighten on the lid. Label with the date. Will be ready to eat in 3 weeks (or 2 weeks, if you are impatient). Best stored in a cold place, like the back of the refrigerator. Note: If you have any brine left over, use it to clean the bottoms of your copper-bottom pans.


11370 S. Stelling Rd.

Cupertino, CA 95014

Phone: (408) 257-6743

The New Armenian Kitchen Cookbook is no longer in print, but note:

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OR to receive a corrected copy of the New Armenian Kitchen Cookbook from Vera Sarkissian, send e-mail



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