Chilled yoghurt soup with summer herbs

Chilled yoghurt soup with summer herbs

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

Wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer’s day, ice-cold yoghurt and herb soups are popular all around the Middle East, with slight variations from country to country. Iranian versions such as this one often include chopped walnuts and raisins, which make the soup richer and more filling; a little goes a surprisingly long way. Serve with plenty of warm flatbread.


Quantity Ingredient
3 lebanese cucumbers, peeled
1 small garlic clove, crushed with 1 teaspoon sea salt
800g thick natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons finely snipped chives
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
1 teaspoon dried mint
sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
40g finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons currants
300ml ice-cold water
lemon juice, squeezed
silvered pistachios, to garnish
fresh or dried rose petals
or 1 small radish, thinly shaved, to garnish
warm flatbread, to serve


  1. Split the cucumbers lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Grate the cucumber coarsely into a colander set on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Whisk the garlic paste into the yoghurt until evenly distributed, then whisk in the herbs. Squeeze the grated cucumber firmly to remove as much moisture as you can, then stir into the yoghurt. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavours develop.
  3. Just before serving, stir the walnuts and currants into the yoghurt and whisk in enough of the ice-cold water to achieve a soupy consistency — you may not need it all. Add a big squeeze of lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking once more.
  4. Sprinkle with pistachios, rose petals or radish as you please, and serve straight away.
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