Cucumber Yogurt Soup with Maras & Sumac Drizzle

Cucumber Yogurt Soup with Maras & Sumac Drizzle

Serves 6.

This soup takes its inspiration from caçik (pronounced ‘zjah-zjek’), a Turkish classic which is served as a cold soup or a thicker, sauce-like condiment. Historically related to Greek tzatziki and probably Indian raita, caçik combines yogurt, cucumbers, and mint to refresh the palate and invigorate the body. 

White pepper is traditionally used to season caçik; here we suggest Kampot white pepper from Cambodia for its citrus and eucalyptus notes. Our recipe veers away from tradition with its spiced olive oil garnish but we love the punch of color and contrasting flavors.   

For the soup:
1 pound (2 cups) full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon finely ground white Kampot pepper
3 tablespoons dried spearmint, crushed
1 teaspoon grated garlic (1 large clove)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 pickling cucumbers, peeled and seeded

For the spiced oil and garnish:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Maras chile flakes
½ teaspoon Lebanese sumac
Fresh mint leaves, torn

Make the soup  Put the soup ingredients, except the cucumber, into a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine. Add 1 cup ice water and whisk until the soup is smooth and fully combined.

Mince the cucumbers fairly finely (in about 1/8-inch pieces), add to the soup, and stir to combine. Chill the soup for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight before serving. If the soup thickens as it chills, thin it by whisking in a bit more ice water.

Make the spiced olive oil  Put the oil into a small pan set over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chile and sumac, stir, and turn off the heat. Let the oil cool and infuse with the spices for at least 10 minutes.

To serve  Pour the soup into small bowls or pretty glasses — the soup is rich, so a ½ cup portion is plenty. Use a spoon to drizzle on a little of the spiced oil and top with a little fresh mint.


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