Jumat, 20 Juni 2008

Cold Kefir Soup for Hot Summer Days

I start with an apology. I cannot remember where I got this recipe from. But it was in my old recipe card box, and the only note was 'Uzbek recipe?' (refering to Uzbekistan, the country in Central Asia; well, actually it said 'usbeki retsept?' on my recipe card, but you know what I mean). I don't know about that - apart from the Cayenne pepper, it sounds very Estonian to me. And on a hot summer day last week, I made this soup - it took me 5 minutes in total, and I fell in love with it all over again.

If you live in the US, you'll find kefir in Whole Foods and international food stores. Lifeway Foods does a decent one. Here's what they've got to say about kefir:

A creamy probiotic dairy beverage similar to but distinct from yogurt. Lifeway believes it offers the largest selection of kefir in the world. Low-fat or non-fat pasteurized milk is the basic ingredient in kefir. Its effervescent quality stems from the kefir culture, which contains ten active "friendly" microorganisms, compared to two or three in yogurt.

What I've got to say about this soup, is following: it takes 5 minutes to put together; it tastes fresh and refreshing; it's highly versatile - you can use any herbs you like or have around; it looks pretty gorgeous; it's good for you; it's very easy to digest :)

Cold Kefir Soup
(Külmsupp usbekkide moodi)
Serves 4

1 litre of plain kefir
250 ml/1 cup cold water
Cayenne'i pepper
2 green 'English' cucumbers
1 bunch of crisp radishes
3 - 4 scallions/spring onions (incl. green parts)
4 Tbsp or more fresh chopped herbs - parsley, dill, coriander/cilantro

Mix kefir and cold water, then season with salt and Cayenne'i pepper to taste.
Wash and dry the cucumbers and radishes, then cut into small cubes or slices. Chop spring onions/scallions and herbs finely. Divide between four soup bowls. (Add an ice cube to each bowl, if it's really hot outside).

Pour the cold kefir mixture over, and serve the soup at once.

See also:
Ximena's El gazpacho de Escolástica, or the best gazpacho in the world
Ajoblanco: the other Spanish chilled soup