This hauntingly aromatic Persian soup, adapted from a recipe by Iranian-American chef Hoss Zaré, combines nuts and raisins with dill, mint, chives or scallion, and dried rose petals, all suspended in yogurt, creating a delicate, refreshing, and crunchy soup.
Unlike the boldly flavored cacik, the Turkish yogurt-cucumber-garlic soup, common throughout the Mediterranean –an ancestor of tzatziki– this older, fragrant Persian soup has no garlic.
I use almonds or pistachios instead of the walnuts the original recipe calls for, and I add preserved lemon, which enhances the soup with its salty-tangy flavor. I suggest you double the recipe and enjoy it the next morning for breakfast.
1/4 cup (25 g) dried rose petals, crushed
1/3 cup (40 g) almonds, or pistachios
About 1/8 of a preserved lemon piece, briefly rinsed
2 cups (500 g) Greek-style yogurt
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) ice water
1/2 cup (80 g) golden raisins, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, finely diced cucumber (one small or 2/3 of a large cucumber)
1/4 cup (10 g) finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup (10 g) finely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup (25 g) finely chopped chives or scallions, white and most of the green parts
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios (optional)
Garlic Blossoms (optional)
In a small bowl, soak the rose petals in slightly warm water until softened and cold, about 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Spread the almonds or pistachios on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly colored. Let cool and chop finely in a food processor together with the preserved lemon.
In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the ice water. Add the raisins, cucumber, mint, dill, chives, rose petals, and almonds. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, then serve in glasses or in shallow bowls, sprinkling generously with sumac, pistachios, and garlic blossoms, if you like.