Cold Cucumber Soup

One of the more popular Shavuot recipes in Israel is tarator soup ('marak tarator'), a cold soup made from yogurt and cucumber that came to Israel via immigrants from the Balkan region.

The Turkish style drains the yogurt first and serves it as a side dish or mezze, similar to Greek tzatziki. This easy recipe follows the Bulgarian style, and comes from my mother-in-law who was born in Bulgaria and moved to Israel as a young child.

Served with fresh, crusty bread, cold cucumber soup can be a meal in itself.

Serves 5-7

3 1/2 cups (4 200 gram containers) plain yogurt (cow or goat)
3/4 cup (1 200 gram container) sour cream, kefir, or leben
3 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 small cucumbers, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup cold water
Salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)

For the topping:
Crushed walnuts or lightly toasted pine nuts
Drizzle of olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together, and chill in refrigerator for several hours. Top with nuts and olive oil before serving.

For a smoother consistency: Mix all the ingredients in a blender.
For a thicker consistency: Omit the cold water.


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