Barbara Adishian’s Chorag with Golden Raisins


FRESNO — Chorag, sometimes spelled choroeg, cheoreg, or chorek in English is a traditional Armenian sweet bread made around Easter and often at Christmas. This is the late Barbara Theresa Adishian’s prized Chorag with Golden Raisins recipe that is featured in A Taste of Fresno Armenian and American Cuisine Cookbook, published by the Ladies of St. Paul Armenian Church, Ladies Society, Fresno, California, First Printing 1995, Second Printing Revised Edition 2003.

Barbara was born on December 4, 1926 in Worcester, MA. Her parents were Joseph and Valerie Novakoski. She attended nursing school after she left high school. Barbara moved from Worcester to Fresno with her husband John and their eldest son, Jack, in 1953. Her other two sons, Kevin and Greg, were born in Fresno. She worked for years as a registered nurse at various places, including Valley Children’s Hospital and Hypana in Fresno. She was a member of the Daughters of Vartan and served as the Fresno Chapter’s Dirouhie (leader). She volunteered at St. Paul Armenian Church, and loved baking and preparing many memorable family meals, especially with the fresh vegetables from their amazing garden.

Barbara passed away on June 29, 2020 in Fresno at 93 years old. Her beloved husband of 70 years, John Paul Adishian, Sr., passed away in 2019. Her recipe is reprinted here in her memory and honor. As her family says, “She was a fantastic baker. There were always delicious oatmeal cookies, chorags and desserts in her freezer. She was the consummate and loving wife, mother, and grandmother.”

As Liana Aghajanian writes in Dining in Diaspora:

“Perhaps the most enduring and symbolic of food traditions centers around a sweet bread called “choreg” made during Easter, which emits a fragrance while baking that is so potent, so intoxicating, it is permanently embedded in the olfactory memories of the adults who once grew up with it. For many families, choreg has been the link that has connected them to their Armenian-ness to who they feel they are. When circumstances beyond their control have caused the disintegration of families, lineage and identity, food has remained the last cultural remnant of historically oppressed people who have lost so much. They may have forgotten everything else, but choreg never dies. For many, choreg is an all-out obsession, inhaled in copious amounts at the first opportunity. No matter how much you eat, it never seems to be enough. No matter how much time has passed since you’ve eaten it, you will never forget the taste.”

Childhood memories connect us to the past and to our families, customs, traditions, and heritage. We know this special chorag recipe that Barbara Adishian made for her family and friends will continue to be enjoyed (and remembered) for many years to come.

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1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

12 oz. water

3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon salt

2 pounds butter

4 packages dry yeast (regular or quick rise)

1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

5 pounds plus 4 cups all-purpose flour

6 extra-large eggs, beaten

2 extra-large eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound golden raisins, to taste

Sesame seeds, if desired



Combine the milk,12 oz. water, sugar and salt in a medium pan; heat and then cool to lukewarm. Melt butter; cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in warm water and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar; cover for 15 minutes. Add milk mixture and yeast to the butter.

Place 5 pounds flour in a large pan and make a well; add butter mixture and 6 beaten eggs. Mix with a large wooden spoon, and add remaining 4 cups flour; mix with hands. Knead dough for 10-15 minutes until spongy and dough no longer sticks to hands.

Rub vegetable oil on top of dough and cover with tea towels; let rise in warm place until double the size. When dough has risen, punch down and add raisins; mix well.

Shape dough and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Brush chorags with mixture of 2 beaten eggs and 1 tablespoon yogurt. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired. Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.


Makes approximately 100 chorags.


To purchase A Taste of Fresno Armenian and American Cuisine Cookbook for holiday gifts for family or friends, contact: St. Paul Armenian Church, 3767 N. First St, Fresno, California 93726, (559) 226-6343. Cookbook cost is $20.00 plus shipping and handling. Checks should be made payable to: St. Paul Armenian Church Ladies Society.

For more recipes, go to: b-cake-from-thearmeniankitchen-com/


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