When the cicadas are singing high summer, nothing goes better with the heat than cucumbers. Heat-to-beat and cucumbers make me think of the cooling role cucumbers play in Indian cuisine.
One of our favorite fast summer foods is a Madhur Jaffrey raita made by lightly whipping two cups of Greek-style yogurt, then mixing in a diced cucumber and a diced tomato. The spices are simple too: salt, black pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a half-teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds.
It struck me one day that we could marry that raita with our go-to cold cucumber soup.
Cucumber Raita Soup
2 cups peeled, seeded, chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup chilled vegetable stock or chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
half a small onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
a handful of fresh dill or a teaspoon of dried
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) roasted cumin seeds, ground
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
mint leaves, optional
halved cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
In a blender, combine one cup of the cucumbers with the stock, lemon juice, onion, and spices. Blend until smooth. Pulse in the yogurt and sour cream. Stir in the remaining cucumber. Cover and chill until very cold. Serve in chilled cups or bowls and garnish with the tomato halves and the mint.
(If you're like us, you may just want to go ahead and double the recipe. Or triple it.)
The soup tastes extra wonderful if you go jump in the river while it chills. It is best enjoyed barefoot on the porch as the cicadas serenade the summer evening.
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