For this soup I like to use a hand-held blender, leaving its texture unfinished. Deliberately vague: Make this yours, as a soup on the first really warm day or as a sauce. Use any fresh herb or combination you wish. Mint goes beautifully with cucumber and yogurt, as does coriander.
Makes about 2½ cups.
2 tablespoons bland vegetable oil such as canola
2 cups chopped spring onions (scallions, both white and green parts)
1 small garlic clove, chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped cucumber, peeled, seeded if the seeds are large and coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh herbs or greens such as mint, coriander, watercress mustard—whatever you like
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
½ teaspoon or more salt
Freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne or red pepper flakes, or to
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Put the oil in a pot, add the spring onions and garlic and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, to soften them; do not let them brown. Add the cucumber and cook it gently until it starts to soften, without letting it color. Stir in the greens and heat only until they wilt, no more. Add the yogurt. With a hand-held blender or in a food mill or processor, chop the ingredients; stop short of a purée, leaving some texture. Add the lemon juice, salt, chili and cumin. Taste carefully for balance of seasonings. Serve at room temperature or chilled.