Perfect for summer, this refreshingly quick, cool and elegant, chilled cucumber soup uses a creamy yogurt as its base with lots of fresh garden mint – both having a very cooling effect on the palate. Consider this a base for many variations (see below)!
Basically per 4 people it is 3 normal pots of yogurt, two pots of cold water, 2 cucumbers , 1 sm. salad onion, some lemon juice, 4 T. cream, 4 T. olive oil, 4 T. minced fresh mint, salt and powdered ginger to taste.
4 servings (T= tablespoon t= teaspoon)
- about 375 ml. creamy Greek yogurt (3 x 125 ml containers)
- 250 ml. very cold water
- 2 long or 3 short (hand length) cucumbers
- 1 small to medium white ‘sweet’ onion (salad onion), chopped (or about 4 spring onions – bulb only)
- juice of one lemon
- 60 m. cream (about 4 T.)
- 60-70 ml. olive oil (about 4-5 T.)
- 4 T. or more minced fresh mint (reserve a few tips to garnish)
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 to 1 t. powdered ginger (or 1/4 t. white pepper)
Chop the cucumbers coarsely. Puree the onion in the cold water. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree to a smooth consistency. If too thick, add a little more cold water or ice cubes to chill which will melt and dilute. If too thin, add a little more yogurt.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Place in the refrigerator to allow the flavours to marry at least a few minutes before serving in glass or coloured bowls for contrast (I have chilled it for more than an hour). Garnish with mint tips. Goes well with toasted garlic bread slices or crisp flat bread or small squares of Melba toast floated on the soup.
Notes: I served this with simple chicken breasts drizzled with a little pesto and green beans cooked with sautéed onion, large diced potatoes and a few cherry tomatoes. Delicious! If you cannot locate a salad type onion and must use a regular onion then use half of a small one. The advantage of the sweet onion is that pureed, it helps to bulk the soup and gives a delicate onion taste without dominating or being noticeable. Too much of a regular onion will ruin cold soups. Also, although I often use powdered ginger in place of white pepper, start with the minimum amount first. After chilling a short time, taste again and add more. I prefer the higher amount called for as I find the hint of ginger lingering in the background key to the success of this soup…as well as generous use of fresh mint.
Variation: substitute almost any soft herb such as basil, dill, parsley, cilantro or even lemon verbena in place of the mint or a combination of favourite herbs. A small cooked potato pureed with the onion gives the soup a little more body. Cilantro combines best with parsley or should be used alone. For a tzatziki type soup, leave out the onion, add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic and use dill. Replace the lemon with apple or white wine vinegar or similar and replace the cream with sour cream. Use white pepper in place of ginger.
(First published on my Epicurean Table site in 2010.)
Related post: Greek Yogurt – a Super Substitute for Everything!