Monday, September 10, 2012

Garlicky Cucumber Soup with Cumin

Several summers ago I had an incredible chilled cucumber soup with tons of garlic, cumin, and a touch of coriander at Mindy's Hot Chocolate in Chicago. It was creamy and induced a bowl-licking frenzy. I jotted down some tasting notes and promised myself that I would make this at home. Although a refreshing soup like this would have been perfect in the sweltering heat of a Chicago summer day, I never got around to making the soup. Summer in Chicago was just too wonderful to be inside; instead, I found myself exploring Chicago's fabulous dining scene.

Fast forward three years; I found myself in San Francisco, where it never gets really hot, craving a something refreshing with cucumbers. I don't usually go for cold soups, for me soup typically invokes a steamy bowl of comfort on a late fall or winter day, but I immediately was taken back to the cumin-scented cucumber soup at Mindy's Hot Chocolate.

I prefer to make this soup with great local cucumbers from my CSA box- so the cucumbers are at their best- and organic full fat yogurt. Cucumber, yogurt, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and salt are blended together until smooth and almost frothy. Then fresh mint and basil are blended in and the soup is finished with generous heap of cumin. The result is an incredibly soothing, cool, and refreshing soup that tastes even better the next day.

All of the ingredients are fresh and the flavors just shine through beautifully. I almost want to drink a glass of it rather than eat it from a bowl!

Other cucumber recipes you may enjoy:
Garlicky Cucumber Soup with Cumin
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup mint
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • for garnish: radish, mint, or basil
Peel cucumbers and cut them in half, scraping out seeds. Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and let them stand 30 minutes. Drain excess water.

Chop the cucumbers coarsely and put the pieces in the blender along with garlic, lemon juice, salt, and yogurt. Blend at high speed. Add mint and basil, and pulse until blended. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Chill well before serving. For best results, let sit overnight in fridge to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with radish, mint, or basil.

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