Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ab Doogh Khiar - a Persian Chilled Yogurt Soup with Cucumbers, Mint, Walnuts & Raisins


I was on a lookout for a cold soup to beat the "it's-finally-here" Cincinnati summer heat. And when Gazelle Abedi posted about Ab Doogh Khiar in A Shared Meal, the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Ab Doogh Khiar (Ab: Water, Doogh: Yogurt Drink, Khiar: Cucumber) is a delightful Persian Chilled Yogurt Soup made with Cucumbers, Mint, Walnuts and Raisins.



Anything with Yogurt always catches my fancy. And I'm wee bit partial about Mint! Specially in the summer months. Moreover, there is a Mint explosion happening in my tiny herb garden. I am trying to find new ways of using this refreshingly aromatic herb.



The recipe of Ab Doogh Khiar is very similar to our Indian Cucumber Raita. While our Raita is more of a condiment, having a 'dip-like' consistency, Ab Doogh Khiar is on the thinner, more soupier side and almost a meal in itself.

A bowl of creamy and comforting Yogurt with crunchy Cucumbers, aromatic Mint, earthy Walnuts and sweet Golden Raisins, flavored with just a hint of Garlic. I can assure that, it'll be love at first spoonful!

According to the recipe I followed, There was two optional garnish. Dried Rose Petals and/or ribbons of Crispy Fried, Onion/Shallot. I couldn't get my hands on Dried Rose Petals but I'm sure they would have brough a touch of elegance to the Ab Doogh Khiar.

The is Crispy Fried, Onion/Shallot another story altogether! Initially, I planned to skip it, because it meant turning on the stove and I planned a no-cooking dinner. But the thought of "crackly fried shallots melting into the cool soup as caramelized ribbons", sounded too tempting to pass. And my instincts was spot on. The Crispy Fried, Onion/Shallot garnish, though optional, is highly recommended. They do bring a smoky, caramelized sweetness to the cold soup.



Pieces of crispy bread is usually added just before serving the Ab Doogh Khiar. But we prefer it on the side. We aren't too fond of soggy bread. Plus serving the bread on the side, also help control the carbs consumed.

Bolillos is one our favorite bread to soak up our soups and stews. Bolillos is a shorter and more oval Mexican cousin of the French Baguette, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside. Sam and Sid both enjoyed their chilled bowls of Ab Doogh Khiar the with fresh-out-of-the oven Bolillos, which we get from our local bakery.




I'm completely in awe of this delightful Persian Chilled Yogurt Soup. The texture and flavor is very familiar yet, a little different. Love the earthiness of the Walnuts and the sweetness of the Golden Raisins. And the ribbons of caramelized sweetness of the shallots /onions, takes the soup to another level.

This is a must have soup this summer!


Recipe Snapshot: Ab Doogh Khiar - a Persian Chilled Yogurt Soup with Cucumbers, Mint, Walnuts & Raisins
Recipe inspiration: The Spice Spoon


Serves: 4- 5 serving
(1 serving = 1 cup)

What I used:
Greek Yogurt (plain) - 2 cups (I used no-fat one)

English Cucumber - 1, peeled and diced into small chunks (about 1.5 cups after its chopped)

Garlic - 1 fat clove, finely grated

Mint - 1/4 cup packed, finely chopped + more for garnish

Walnut - 1/2 cup, finely chopped + more for garnish

Golden Raisins - 1/4 cup

Cold Water - 1 cup + 1 cup

Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Optional Garnish
Dried Rose Petals

Crispy Fried, thinly sliced Onion/Shallot (highly recommended)


What I did:
1. Peel cucumber and slice it lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and then dice into small cubes.

2. In a large bowl, beat the yogurt with a wire whisk for a couple of minutes until smooth.

3. Add the diced cucumbers, grated garlic, finely chopped mint, chopped walnuts and raisins and mix well.

4. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

5. Now gradually add cold water. Add 1 cup first. Mix well. Now gently add water, tablespoon by tablespoon till you get the desired consistency. If you feel its too watery add more yogurt. Do a little trial and error, till you get the perfect consistency. We like our soup on the creamier side. I ended up adding 1.5 cups of water in total.

6. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

7. Cover and let the soup chill in he refrigerator for about 2 hours.

8. Serve the chilled Ab Doogh Khiar with additional garnish of mint leaved, chopped walnuts dried rose petals (optional) and crispy fried onions (optional), with a side of bread. Or you can add some crispy toasted bread into the chilled yogurt soup too. We prefer it on the side.

Notes/Tip: The Crispy Fried, Onion/Shallot adds a nice caramelized sweetness to the soup. It's not a must but highly recommended. To make it, heat a tablespoon in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add thinly sliced shallots or onion. One small onion or shallot or half of a medium sized will do. Fry till its deep golden in color. Remove in a paper lined plate. Let it cool in a single layer. It will crisp up as it cools.

Dried Rose petals is purely optional. I couldn't readily find it. But I'm sure brings a royal flavor to the soup. I will look at our local Middle Eastern grocery for some. And may be as a variation I might add some pomegranate arils, sometime. It will surely look pretty!

Diabetic Platter:
Greek Yogurt is made by separating out the liquid whey. This results in a thicker texture with fewer carbohydrates and sugar, and more protein the regular yogurt.

Protein is essential for good health. It is vital to cell growth, building muscle, and repairing tissue. As we age, we need more protein to keep the skin healthy and to fight off illness. Greek Yogurt is a great way to boost the protein levels while avoiding heavy foods like meats.

Greek Yogurt is packed with probiotics. These are microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast. These normally live in the intestines. Having good microorganisms in the intestines helps keep us healthy. Probiotics are great for the digestive system, and especially helpful to people who suffer from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Greek Yogurt low in sodium and it is also high in potassium. There must be a proper balance between sodium and potassium in the body. Greek Yogurt can help you maintain the correct proportions.

The amazing health benefits of Greek Yogurt is far from being over. Read the full article here.

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