abcdefg Posted May 26, 2019 at 11:00 AM Report Share Posted May 26, 2019 at 11:00 AM China doesn’t have a strong tradition of cold soups. No signature Middle Kingdom Gazpacho or colorful Dongbei cold Borscht. That doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot come up with a refreshing hot-weather way to use local ingredients with a tip of the hat to Jacques Pepin or Julia Child. That’s what I’ve been doing lately with this year’s bumper crop of crisp cucumbers, peppers, limes and mint. Since you won’t find this on the take-out menu at Mr. Wang’s Noodle Heaven, that’s all the more reason to learn to make it yourself at home. I’ll show you how I do it. (Skip to the bottom if you just want the recipe.) I usually buy the large “English-type” cucumbers for this recipe. The long, skinny Chinese ones with the darker, bumpy skin also work. The two I bought today weighed about 600 grams, a little more than a pound. Should have bought a third but didn’t decide to use them this way until I got home. As you know, mint is much beloved in Kunming, and is always in good supply. I bought a double handful for only 1 Yuan. Washed it and trimmed out the few tough woody stems, leaving a cup of leaves and tender stems. (Please click the photos to enlarge them.) I coarsely chopped the cucumbers after peeling them and scooping out the seeds. One had seeds that needed to go, the other one didn’t (they were very small and tender.) Rough chopped the garlic, half a small red onion, and half of the hot green pepper (these are mild.) If you don’t have fresh peppers handy, a few drops of Tabasco will do instead. Put the cucumbers, mint and all the other vegetables into the blender or food processor along with the juice of one large lime (about two tablespoons.) Added about a half a cup of cold water from the fridge, a little at a time, to make it easier to blend. Whiz it up in short pulses until it’s liquid and smooth. Pour it into a mixing bowl, add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of aged vinegar, a teaspoon of large-grain salt, and a generous grind of black pepper. Stir it well and add one cup of moderately thick, unsweetened yogurt. (I make my own.) Increase the yogurt to 1.5 cups if you prefer a "creamier" result. Mix well with a balloon whisk and refrigerate for at least half an hour, until thoroughly chilled. Garnish with a sprig of mint and some diced cucumber when ready to serve. This is enough for two people who will want seconds, or enough for four if they are not big eaters. Chilled cucumber mint soup hits the spot as a light lunch next to a chicken salad sandwich and it also works well as the first course at supper. Here's the recipe. (Click "Reveal hidden contents.") Spoiler Recipe – Chilled cucumber mint soup Ingredients: 3 large English-style cucumbers, about 1.5 lbs., peeled, seeded, chopped ½ of a small, sweet red onion (Bermuda style,) sliced ½ mildly spicy green pepper, seeds removed, coarsely chopped 1 clove garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped 1 to 1.5 cups of fresh mint, leaves and tender stems 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt 1 or 2 grinds of black pepper 1 to 1.5 cups of thick, unsweetened yogurt Method: 1. In a blender or food processor, liquify the cucumber, onion, green pepper, garlic and mint, together with ½ cup of cold water added gradually in splashes. 2. When this becomes smooth, pour into a large bowl and mix in a teaspoon of coarse salt, a grind or two of black pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil. 3. Use a balloon whisk to fold in a cup of thick, unsweetened yogurt. 4. Refrigerate for at least half an hour. 5. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a spoon or two of chopped cucumber when ready to serve. 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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