This is an extremely desirable drink during the hot summer months. Yes I said “summer”. I am home in India and experiencing the true Indian summer after 16 years! That number shocks and surprises me. 16 years??!! Where did all these years go?
I have lost touch with a lazy hot afternoon when nothing stirs and the sole dove sits outside and coos and gurgles. The fan keeps whirring. Shades are pulled, curtains drawn and I feel like I am dozing off for a siesta. This is how the real summer vacation used to be. The afternoon nap was almost a necessity as it was too hot to go out and play.
This recipe is a cross between the Lassi,a very popular yogurt drink during the summer months in India and Raita-a condiment/side with the yogurt, fruit, vegetable condiment that is used as a side with Indian meals. As the weather warms up, I usually make a hearty lunch with fruits, vegetables and herbs whisked together with chilled yogurt. This time I made a soup, a speckled colorful bowlful.
Its comforting and delicious. A little sweet and a little salty, less dense than a Raita and not as runny as a Lassi.
And it’s good. Seriously good; esp. if the scorching sun is beating on you and all you desire is to stay indoors and cool yourself off.
Yogurt drink is popular all over Asia and the Mediterranean. Doogh in Afghanistan, Ayran in Turkey, Tahn in Armenia and all similar to the Indian Lassi. The yogurt condiment like Raita comes in different forms too – Cacik, Tzatziki are a few from different part of the world.
The recipe here is a slight variation with a lot of refreshing mint, nuts, cucumbers and dried fruits. Its almost like a meal for me. Pomegranates would have been a wonderful addition to this soup if it was in season.
It’s a free style soup with yogurt and mint as the base ingredient; use whatever you want to go with it. We love sumac in our family. The light lemony flavor is so right.
Chilled Yogurt Mint and Nut Soup
Ingredients: (serves 2)
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, or drained yogurt
- 3/4 – 1 cup ice cold water, (adjust amount of water depending on how thin or dense you want your soup to be)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons walnuts /pine nuts/almonds or any nuts you want
- 1 small chili pepper, very thinly sliced (Optional)
- 4 tablespoons fresh chopped mint + more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped
- 1 small tomato, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup English cucumber or small Persian cucumbers, chopped in small pieces (If you are using regular cucumbers, remove the seeds)
- 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped dried apricots, or any other dry fruit with a hint of sweet
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- sumac, for garnish (or you could use roasted cumin powder instead for a different flavor)
Lightly toast the nuts (whatever kind you are using) on a skillet or a pre heated oven (to 350 F) for about 8 minutes. Set aside and allow it to cool, then chop them in tiny pieces.
Prepare/chop cucumber, tomato, mint, cilantro, apricot and set aside.
Whisk the yogurt, sugar, salt and pepper, with the ice cold water until smooth and silky. Combine nuts, chili pepper, mint, cucumber and apricots and stir them in the yogurt.
Chill the soup in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Serve with a sprinkle of sumac and more mint leaves.