Recipe from Sami Tamimi’s cookbook, Falastin
If you want something to be rich and creamy and vegan all at once, tahini is often the big secret, ingredient-wise. Swirled in a sauce, a dressing, or a soup, as here, tahini is a wonderful way to enrich a dish. With the cucumber, lemon, and herbs doing all the work at the other end to freshen and lighten things up, this is a perfect meal for a summer day.
Playing around: Double or triple the batch for the pumpkin seeds, if you like; they keep for a week in a sealed container, at room temperature, and are lovely sprinkled over all sorts of salads and roasted vegetables.
Getting ahead: The soup can be made up to a day in advance; it keeps well and doesn’t lose its color. Just give it a stir before serving, as there’ll be a little water separation.
- Spicy pumpkin seeds
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup/40g pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- tsp salt
- 3 large cucumbers (2 lb 2 oz/1kg), peeled
- ¼ cup/65g tahini
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more to serve
- 2 lemons: finely grate the zest to get 2 tsp, then juice to get ¼ cup/60ml
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup/10g dill, roughly chopped, plus a few fronds
- ¾ tsp Aleppo chili flakes (or ½ tsp regular chili flakes)
- 3 ½ oz/100g ice cubes
- 1 cup/20 g mint leaves
- 1 cup/20g parsley, roughly chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tomato, cut into ¼-inch/6mm dice (1/2 cup/80g)
To prepare the pumpkin seeds, put all the ingredients into a small sauté pan and place over medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the seeds begin to color lightly and pop. Transfer to a bowl (or to an airtight container if making a batch) and set aside to cool.
Cut off a roughly 3-oz/80g chunk of cucumber and slice in half. Scoop out the seedy core and put this in a countertop blender (or a deep bowl if you are using an immersion blender), then finely chop the remainder into 1½-inch/1cm dice. Set this aside. Roughly chop the remaining 2 cucumbers into ¾-inch/2cm chunks and transfer to the blender along with the tahini, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, chopped dill, chili flakes, ice cubes, half the mint, half the parsley, 1 tsp of salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Blitz for about 2 minutes, until completely smooth, then keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Divide the soup among four deep bowls and spoon the reserved cucumber and diced tomato on top. Shred the remaining mint and sprinkle this over each portion, along with the remaining parsley, the dill fronds, the spicy pumpkin seeds, and a final drizzle of oil and serve.
From article originally published in Haaretz