Sunday, July 16, 2017

Asian-Style Cucumber Soup: Cool and Refreshing for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

I eat warm soups year-round, even in the hotter, more humid days of summer. Still, it's nice to enjoy a flavorful cold soup when it's too hot to do much cooking or want to spend much time in the kitchen.

This Asian-Style Cucumber Soup from Mark Bittman is perfect for summer eating. It simple, has fresh flavors, and a kick of spicy heat from the chili pepper. I made a few small changes to the recipe--making it a vegan soup, upping the rice vinegar a bit, and topping it with sesame seeds and chili oil. My changes are in red below.

Asian-Style Cucumber Soup
From Mark Bittman, via
(Serves 4)

2 medium cucumbers
3 Tbsp soy sauce (I used low-sodium tamari)
2 Tbsp  rice or white wine vinegar (I added an extra Tbsp)
1 small chili, stemmed, seeded and minced, or 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
2 tsp sugar (I used agave)
3 cups chicken stock, chilled (I used low sodium-no-chicken veggie broth)
1/2 cup minced scallions, both white and green parts
1 cup chopped watercress or arugula (optional)
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, mint, Thai basil or a combination
(I used all three) 

Peel cucumbers, then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Slice cucumbers as thinly as possible (a mandoline is ideal for this). Mix them in a bowl with soy sauce, vinegar, chili and sugar, then refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Add stock, scallions, watercress or arugula if you like, and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning. (I added another tablespoon of rice vinegar.) Just before serving, garnish with herb or herbs of your choice. (I added a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and a few drops of chili oil.)

Notes/Results: This is such a tasty and refreshing soup. I liked it even more than I thought I would. The balance of flavors wit the savory, sweet and acidity works well and the peppery bite of the watercress and the cooling flavor of the herbs is nice. There is a slight kick at the end from the chili, but I liked enhancing it with the chili oil for just a bit more heat. Even if you are leery of or not crazy about cold soups, if you like Asian-flavored cucumber salads and herbs, this one would be a good one to try. It would make a nice starter for some grilled fish or a dinner of sushi. I will happily make it again.

I'm linking this soup up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is our Monthly Ingredient Challenge: Just for Kicks--Spicy Dishes. You can see what spicy dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post. 

We have two delicious dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shared this lovely Minted Quinoa Tabouli Salad (Tabbouleh) and said, "Summer has officially arrived and fresh seasonal vegetable salads are a welcome addition at any gathering. I especially love tabouli ( tabbouleh) made with lots of fresh parsley and fresh mint. ... The vegan and gluten free salad was light, rich in summer vegetables, and tastefully dressed. It's a nice diversion from the
lettuce and tomato salad."

Here at Kahakai Kitchen I made two delicious open-faced toasts this week, full of mood-enhancing dopamines: Avocado Toast with Sriracha-Garlic Mayo and Banana and Almond Butter with Dark Chocolate Drizzle. Either of these are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or for a sammie snack. 

Mahalo to Judee for joining me this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I like soup in the summer too. I love watercress but have never had it in soup, only salad. I'm interested in trying it .

  2. I just haven't clicked with cold soups yet but I like the modifications you made to this recipe. I'm sure it improved it. Looks very appetizing I must say.

  3. Oh yes,Deb. This cold refreshing cucumbery soup is perfect for all the hot humid weather we've been having lately. Love that you drizzled some chile oil as a finishing touch!

    And, I saw those toasts come across on instagram and wanted one of each ;-)

  4. Sounds good, we like soup about any time too! Thanks!

  5. I need to enjoy more cold soups and this is the year I hope to make that happen

  6. I would like this as I do like Aisan cucumber salads. Looks great! I was trying to decide which salad photo to use for my linkup and now I wish I had choose The Cobb.


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