Soupe glacée aux courgettes

What could be better when the temperature soars than a zingy cold soup? This one combines zucchini with tiny lentils, Indian flavorings and mint, and can be topped with coconut milk and/or any number of embellishments. The idea for it popped into my head as yet another heatwave loomed in Paris. With the mercury due to hit 100 degrees – that’s around 40 Celsius – I wanted to make something cool ahead of time…

Soupe glacée aux courgettes / Cold zucchini-lentil soup

As I like Asian food when the weather is hot, I turned to Madhur Jaffrey, my favorite Indian cookbook author. But I didn’t find the kind of soup I had in mind. So I improvised. First I cooked some Indian red lentils with ginger and turmeric, turning them yellow. Then I briefly sautéd zucchini rounds with onion, garlic and ginger, adding ground cumin, coriander seeds, turmeric and cayenne before covering it all with water. I let it simmer for 15 minutes, then puréed it, stirring in the lentils and finely cut fresh mint at the end.

The soup had chilled for just over an hour when my daughter came in from the sweltering heat and found it in the fridge. She helped herself to a bowlful, swirled on some coconut milk, added a couple of cucumber slices and sat down with it in front of the fan. I couldn’t have been more delighted when she pronounced it a success. She was happy, I was happy, and that’s one of the reasons I love to cook – it gives pleasure to other people. But even a dedicated everyday chef needs a break from time to time.

On that note, dear readers, here’s wishing you a lovely conclusion to your summer. The Everyday French Chef will be on vacation until until September, when I plan to mark the 10th anniversary of this site with a special ‘best of’ post. In the meantime, bonnes vacances and…

Happy cooking!

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