Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cool as a Cucumber & Yogurt!

Whether it's Tzaziki or Raita, my favourite summertime condiments are all Yogurt based.  Not just because they are healthy and hydrating, but they are cool, refreshing and downright delicious.  Whether it is the Greek favourite Tzaziki or the Indian condiment Raita, I can literally eat it by the bowl!  If you are that person who has to dip just a little extra because you can't get enough of these tart and creamy condiments - this soup recipe is going to blow you away!

As you may expect Yogurt Soup has its roots in the Middle East and there are as many variations as there are personalities.  Here I'll give you a few flavour variations -  useing as little as two or three ingredients. A perfect no cook meal for these deliciously hot days of summer!

The Broth
Two main ingredients are used here Yogurt and Soup stock.  Buy plain yogurt and don't use anything less than 2%.  I personally like to go for a rich Balkan style or Greek Yogurt.  Try to buy the traditional ones if you can - they typically have better ingredients and texture.  Vegetable stock if you are a vegetarian, beef stock if you want a heartier flavour and chicken if you want a milder soup.

Tip: Swap out plain yogurt for pre-made tzaziki and cut down on ingredients and prep time!

The Body
Typcial additions are any vegetable, grain or leftover protein you have on hand: chopped cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, green onions,  peppers, shredded carrots or zuchinni, rice, quinoa, chicken meat  and anything else you love!
Flavour Agents
The tart flavour of a plain yogurt stands up well to bold flavours. I always like to incorperate a small amount of acid whether it be lime, lemon, orange juice or a splash of mild vinegar.  A ground spice is also a great addition - think cayenne, cardamom, oregano or cumin.  Finally a fresh herb to elevate the summer freshness of this soup - basil, mint, coriander or parsley are my choices.
Chilled Yogurt Soup with Tomatoes & Cilantro
Basic Recipe
2 Cups Plain Yogurt
1 -1 1/2  Cups of stock (Start with 1cup and add more until you reach a consistency you like)
1/2 cup  diced cucumber
1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
1/4 cup finley diced red onion
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp lime juice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill for 15 minutes.  Keeps well in the fridge!

Make it a meal! Add shredded chicken, and a handful of leftover rice or quinoa

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