Beat the heat with tasty Iranian cold soup “Ab Doogh Khiar”

August 13, 2019

TEHRAN – The summer heatwave here in Iran and many other places across the globe can be dealt with a refreshing recipe like the Iranian cold soup “Ab Doogh Khiar”!

Many Iranians believe that Ab Doogh Khiar is a perfect food for the summer. Its name translates as “water, yogurt drink, cucumber,” that is derived from its three main ingredients; it really is almost that simple.

The soup is quite light, made for hot days when our stomachs don’t crave heavy foods. It is so refreshing that Iranians believe it kills the heat in our bodies. While it is easy to prepare, it’s important that the ingredients be as fresh as possible.

Fresh herbs are highly recommended to be used in its recipe for the best flavor and texture.

Some serve Ab Doogh Khiar as an appetizer, but many consider it ideal for a light dinner, often adding a helping of dried bread to make it more filling. It has been part of Iranian culture since the ancient Persian era, and it is the most popular summertime dish in our cuisine. It is usually served chilled—sometimes with ice cubes.

Ingredients

Servings: 4 to 6 in small bowls

6 Persian cucumbers

2 shallots (optional)

2 cloves garlic (optional)

⅓ cup cream (half-and-half works well)

1 small bunch mint

1 small bunch of basil

1 small bunch tarragon

A few sprigs dill

2 cups Greek yogurt

½ cup crushed walnuts

½ cup raisins, rinsed

Crunchy bread

4 ice cubes

Salt and black pepper to taste

Dried rose petals and dried mint for garnish (optional)

Preparation

Peel the skin of cucumbers. Take four of the six cucumbers and slice each lengthwise into four thin strips. (If you are using big cucumbers with big seeds, scoop them out with a teaspoon before slicing them.) Then dice into small pieces (less than half an inch). Set the cucumbers aside.

Peel and dice the shallots and garlic. Put the shallots, garlic, and two remaining cucumbers into a blender. Add the cream and blend until completely smooth. Set aside.

Chop the fresh herbs into tiny pieces, using only the leaves. Put Greek yogurt, crushed walnuts, raisins, the first batch of diced cucumbers, herbs, and crunchy bread into a mixing bowl. Then add pureed cucumber, shallots, garlic, and cream to the bowl. Add ice, then salt and black pepper to taste.

Mix all the ingredients together. The consistency of the soup should be smooth without any lumps. Not too watery or too thick. If it is too watery, add Greek yogurt. If it is too thick, add two or three cubes of ice. Place the soup in the fridge to chill before serving. 

Prior to serving, stir well once more and garnish with dried rose petals and dried mint. Some people like their bread crunchy, so they add it right before serving; others add it at the time of chilling for softer bread.

Now it’s time to celebrate the summer with this Iranian favorite!

AFM/MG