I don’t know about you, but I found this summer here in Berlin particularly HOT. Too hot to cook, actually even too hot to eat. Not surprisingly the best solutions for such circumstances come from the Mediterranean. I’m thinking of cold soups like the classic Spanish Gazpacho or refreshing yoghurt drinks like Ayran. This recipe is the perfect combination. In Bulgaria and Turkey it’s known as Tarator. My grandma, who usually treats us with Marillenknödel (Austrian apricot dumplings) at this time of the year, recently served us this super refreshing soup instead. It can be made within minutes and keeps well in the fridge – so it’s the perfect summer recipe when you don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen.
What is more: the soup is also very gut friendly. You can use store bought kefir for this recipe, but I encourage you to give the practice of making kefir at home a try. I’ve written up a complete guide how to make your own kefir here. Whether you’ll use kefir or yoghurt, you’ll sure get an extra dose of probiotics. I also find myself craving salty, yet fresh things, when it’s crazy hot like this – maybe this is my body’s way of telling me to make up for the lost minerals – and this soup is the perfect answer. I served it along some antipasti like olives and stuffed wine leaves – a delicious combination and a great way to dream yourself to the shores of the Black or Mediterranean Sea.
Chilled Kefir-Cucumber Soup with Walnuts (serves 4)
750 ml kefir (alternatively use 500ml Greek yoghurt & 200-250ml milk or water)
1 big bunch of dill
1 small bunch of mint
1-2 garlic cloves
1 handfull of walnuts
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt and coarse black pepper to taste
If you’re using homemade kefir, start by preparing it in your usual way. Grate the cucumbers. Set a few mint leaves and dill springs aside for the decoration. Then chop the herbs and the garlic cloves (the garlic flavour becomes stronger over time, so you might want to be careful here). Mix everything in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Keep the soup in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. It taste best, when it’s really rather cold.
Roughly chop the walnuts and roast them in a pan without oil. To serve, generously drizzle the soup with high quality olive oil, sprinkle with the walnut and decorate it with the remaining herbs.