Jeweled yogurt mixPosted: 15 May 2012
A few years ago, sometime in June-July, I was hosting my oldest buddy girlfriend for a month, seeing her after some ten years! That was the happiest reunion ever as we both felt we still had SO much in common! Catching up with each other’s lives, plus doing stuff together (from gardening to shopping, to driving around) would not leave us too much time to cook elaborate foods every single day, although we did constantly feel hungry and eat! This nutritious, delicious yogurt-based cold soup was my friend’s solution (and ‘invention’, mind you) for the evenings that we felt too worn out to cook and too creative and energetic to go with a canned, delivered or fast food – a quick and refreshing fix indeed!
Ingredients (for 2): Plain yogurt (2% fat) 400 grams. Flat water, half a cup or about 150 ml. Cucumbers, 2 medium, peeled and grated. Onion (optional), ½ small, peeled and grated. Dried seedless raisin, rinsed, 3 tbsp. Dried walnuts, rinsed and chopped, 3 tbsp. (always good to soak walnuts, change water a few times before using them for this or any other recipe). Powdered dried mint, ½ tbsp. Fresh tarragon (or if you don’t have access to it, any scented herb of your choice), washed and coarsely chopped, a fistful. A few fresh mint and basil leaves. Dried rose flower, a pinch. Salt and black pepper, to taste. For variations you would need: one large Pitta bread, cut in small pieces and mildly toasted. A few ice cubes.
Method: in a large kitchen bowl, first beat yogurt till soft. Add salt, pepper, dried mint and stir. Add grated cucumber and onion and dilute the mix with water and stir more. Add about 90% of dried raisins and chopped walnuts (keeping the rest for the topping). Taste to adjust. Transfer to a nice, transparent) bowl, and sprinkle some greens and reds on the top: fresh mint, basil and dried rose, as well as the rest of your raisins and walnuts. Now, this could be your yogurt mix on its own, or it could be the base of it, depending on how you feel (see pictures below). For a more stomach-filling dish, add toasted bread pieces and wait until they are soaked a bit, but not too mushy before eating. Or if you prefer a cool refreshing fancy drink, simply add a few ice cubes. You would need more water in your initial recipe, if you are going with the bread variation, and less water if you are going to add ice at the end.
Oh one last thing FYI, this particular invention of my friend is inspired by something we call “aab-doogh-khiyar” in Persian (which means, water-doogh, cucumber). This thing, in turn, is a combination of two summer favorites: doogh, and grated cucumbers in plain yogurt. The later is very popular as a chaser and side dish. Our jewled yogurt mix is some kind of glorified aab-doogh-khiyar I would say! 🙂