Five years ago, while visiting Anja in Switzerland, she introduced me to a Swiss yogurt snack, which could easily be enjoyed as a main dish on hot summer days.
Muesli, composed of yogurt, oats, nuts and fruits, is commonly enjoyed in the States as breakfast. However, Anja shared with me how for lunch, she enjoys muesli after a swim in the Aare River. I will never forget our beautiful summer day by the Aare river, after a adventurous swim: the sun was crisp and warm, the beautiful green trees provided shade for us to enjoy our muesli as we watched locals ranging from the ages of 4-70 float down the river!
Persians also enjoy a yogurt based dish during warm summer days to help cool the body from the inside out. Unlike muesli which is more sweet than savory, abdugh-khiar is a savory yogurt and cucumber based soup enjoyed as an appetizer or a main dish on a hot summer day. Aromatic, filled with herbs, nurtured with walnuts and raisins, abdugh-khiar is both nutritious and tasty.
Next time you don’t want to pack a sandwich or warm up leftovers for lunch, treat yourself to abdugh-khiar. It cools the body, satisfies your palate and stomach, and nourishes your soul! A perfect dish to prepare over the weekend and enjoyed all week long as a snack or lunch. Abdugh-khiar is sure to become one of your favorite summer recipes!
2 cups natural plain yogurt- such as Greek yogurt
¼ cup chilled water
1 cup finely chopped Persian cucumbers (or any fragrant cucumber available at your grocery store)
¼ – ½ cup each: chopped basil, dill, tarragon, green onions (these measurements do not have to be exact. You can play with the amounts of each herb- omit or add any herb you prefer)
½ cup chopped red radish
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup small black raisins
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon crushed dried mint
1 tablespoon dried rose pedals -crushed (optional- can be found in most Middle Eastern stores)
In a large glass bowl, blend yogurt and water until a smooth texture is achieved. Add all the above ingredients to the yogurt. Serve chilled in individual bowls. Garnish on top with sprinkles of dried mint and rose pedals.