Ab Doogh Khiar (Cold Cucumber and Yogurt Soup): Visiting Iran

by Karen on Monday, August 9, 2010

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Iran is not a very foreign land for many Americans.  From the hostage crisis in the early 80’s to the more recent stoning case, Iran is probably most significant to Americans for its engagement in contemporary Middle East politics.  What many may not know is that Iran is home to one of the oldest and richest civilizations that made advancements in mathematics, medicine, astronomy, literature, art, and naturally– food.

Persian food is subtly bold, balanced and refined.  Highlighted with an array of herbs and spices such as mint, sumac and saffron, Iran’s cuisine culminates (at least in my opinion) to the height of artistry and skill in poloPolo is long grain rice that is delicately mixed in endless combinations of spices, herbs, vegetables and meat.  So why am I starting off with a seemingly easy no-cook soup?  Fear, my friends.  Fear of failure, of irregularly shaped rice, of burnt tahdig (the tasty toasted rice at the bottom of the pot).  And mostly fear of failure under the tutelage of Persian cook extraordinaire, Noushi.

Noushi is my best friend’s mother and one of the best cooks I know.  Now, I know most of you read that statement with some skepticism, as everyone’s mother or grandmother is “the best cook ever.”  But anyone who has stepped into her kitchen can vouch for my claim so just trust me when I say that her cooking is amazing!

So what does all this jabber amount to?  Certainly more Persian dishes to come in the future, courtesy of Noushi of course.  As for this week, we’ll start our adventure to Iran with ab doogh khiar, an incredibly simple yet delicious cold cucumber and yogurt soup– absolutely perfect on a hot summer day.  See you in the kitchen Friday!

(Images from here and here)


Gelareh August 9, 2010 at 11:06 am

You guys are certainly lucky to have a “Noushi” to tutor you into the culinary masterpieces of Iranian food art. I have experienced the delight of cold cucumber and yogurt soup on a hot summer day and nothing can be quite as satisfying!

Valerie August 9, 2010 at 11:09 am

And you’re lucky to have a “Noushi” as a mother! She works wonders in the kitchen and look, now she’s famous!

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen August 12, 2010 at 10:59 am

Wow! I think I’m in love with your blog. Its exactly what I want to with mine, try every cuisine in the world. Unfortunately for me, I’m really surrounded by people of different cultures or regions. But whats internet for? so making the most of it.

Karen August 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Why thanks 🙂 I will have to try some of your recipes some time– they look yummy!!

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen August 12, 2010 at 11:01 am

I’m not really*

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