Most of my American friends find it strange whenever I add plain yogurt to the food I eat. But I do this because I am Turkish.
I grew up eating yogurt with every meal. It was (and still is) a staple, just like bread, on our dinner table. I can’t imagine dinner without yogurt. That is why when I first moved to U.S., I wasn’t sure why they found it so remarkable.
In order to blend in with the American culture, I tried my hardest to get used to the popular fruity yogurt they sell in supermarkets, but even to this day, I am not a big fan.
Today if you go to a traditional Turkish family’s house for dinner, there is a big possibility that you will be served what we call cacık. Cacık is made by mixing yogurt and water with shredded (or small cubes) cucumber, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. In most Turkish houses it is a staple.
You know how Mexicans have guacamole? We Turkish people have cacık.
In our culture, we do not refer to it as a chilled soup, or gazpacho as many people are familiar with. We serve it as a side dish accompanying the main dish. That is why it feels strange for me to call it “chilled soup”, but for the sake of this recipe I will.
This Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Roasted Shrimp recipe is like cacık on steroids plus it couldn’t be easier to make. All you do is put everything in a food processor, process for a couple of minutes, let it marinade for a couple of hours, and serve.
It is a fantastic chilled soup to serve in small bowls for dinner as an appetizer or in a large soup bowl as a meal for lunch.
I guarantee you that the shrimp placed on top of a bowl of cold avocado, garlic, and yogurt soup with fresh dill and lemon will make your friends and family smile after the first sip.
And if you are a fan of crushed red pepper – sprinkle away, it is an optional bonus.
Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Roasted Shrimp
- 2 cups of fat free yogurt
- 1 ripe avocado halved and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 English cucumber unpeeled (or half peeled) cubed
- 1/2 cup red onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic pressed through a garlic press
- 4 scallions chopped both white and green parts
- 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of crushed red pepper optional
- 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp deveined and peeled – pat dried with paper towels
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill and more for garnish
- Place yogurt, avocado, half and half, cucumber, red onion, garlic, scallions, lemon juice, salt and black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until cucumbers are coarsely pureed. Taste for seasoning and add if necessary.
- Transfer to a large bowl, cover it with stretch film, and marinate for at least an hour in the fridge.
- In the mean time, preheat oven to 400 Degrees.
- Place shrimp onto a baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Roast for 5-7 minutes, making sure to turn once during cooking. Cut shrimp diagonally into halves.
- When ready to serve, ladle the chilled soup into bowls. Top it of with a couple of shrimps, fresh dill, lemon slices, crushed red pepper, and sprinkle it with coarse sea salt.
Adapted with some additions from Ina Garten’s “Chilled Cucumber Soup with Shrimp” recipe from her book Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.