Introduction: Chilled Cucumber-Coconut Soup (With Gathering Experience)
Here I have made Chilled Cucumber - Coconut soup with Lime. Wonderfully refreshing recipe for the warm weather. This recipe is extremely easy to prepare and delicious too. Cucumber and Coconut with Lime is a must try combination.
My native is Kerala, which is a South-West state in India. Kerala is called the "God's Own Country". Kerala is a green state and filled with different varieties tropical trees and plants.
Here I will be showing the beautiful evergreen woods behind my ancestral house. I gathered the fruits and used ancient tools that have been used to pull down the fruits. It was the most beautiful walk I had. You will love the place too.
Firstly I will be showing my expedition of gathering my ingredients. Then I will be showing how to prepare the dish.
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Step 1: Expedition - Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice which is obtained from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree.
It is grows really well in Kerala because of the tropical climate here.
The outer bark is not used. After cutting out portions from the inner bark, it is then rolled and dried. Then we get what we call the cinnamon sticks.
Step 2: Expedition - Nutmeg
Nutmeg is the most amazing spice. A dash of it creates life to our dish be it dessert, cakes or cookies. So nutmeg is abundantly available here and is a large evergreen tree. The tree will be covered by its lush green leaves always. The nutmeg tree produces two different spices such as nutmeg and mace.
For many years we pull down fruits and nut from big heights with help of a hand made hook made out of wood. It can be called as a long wooden hook. It is made out of long branch of a tree. At the end another small branch is kept to form a "V" shape . It is secured with help of a rope. We call it locally as "Thooti". So I carried this along with me for my expedition.
With the help the wooden hook I pulled down the nutmeg fruit that was open. The open ones through which the brown nut and the red arils show that they are ripe. So pull down the ones that are open. Break open the fruit which has already opened up to some extent. The red portion is the mace and the brown nutmeg after drying up is what we use as nutmeg in cakes, dessert and many more. I have used the nutmeg I gathered as a spice in my dish.
Step 3: Expedition - Cucumber, Lime and Pepper
Cucumber - In summer cucumber is the best vegetable cultivation. Cucumber plant grows like a creepy vine and has large leaves. I got the greenish yellow ones. I wanted to use it in my dish as it would be very refreshing due to its high water content.
Lime - Till it reaches maturity, limes are quite sour in taste. The best lime tree harvest time is just before it turns yellow. Gently twist one from the stem of the lime tree and cut it open. Look for limes that are light green and choose fruits that are smooth and slightly soft when gently squeezed. Luckily I got few limes which were just right to use.
Pepper - Kerala is known for its pepper cultivation. Pepper is the king of spices here. Black pepper is produced by sun drying the mature pepper berries for 3 - 5 days after they are separated from the plant. I sundries the berries for few days. To make the black pepper powder the black pepper is crushed.
Step 4: Expedition Coconut
Kerala is known for coconuts. We use it in anything and everything. Coconut is found so abundantly. Now I didn't climb the coconut tree. :D I was lucky enough to find a dwarf coconut tree. Just pulled it down with my Wooden Hook. The husk is removed and we get the coconut. It should be broken open to get the flesh. When the outer husk has turned brown from green then we can say the coconut has ripened.
For De-husking we use a special De-husking tool.
The top of the device consists of two spear shaped pieces one stationary and the other movable by the handle The husk is removed by pressing the coconut on spear shaped top and using the handle to easily separate the tough husk Dehusking
Step 5: Ingredients
Preparation Time - 5 minutes
Cooking Time - 2 minutes
Cucumber - 1/2
Coconut water - 1/4 Cup
Coconut milk - 1/4 Cup
Nutmeg Powder - 1/4 Tsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1/4 Tsp
Salt - to taste (I didn't add. I prefer the sweetness from the coconut and cucumber more)
Grated Coconut - 1 Tbsp
Step 6: Grate the Coconut
Remove the husk. Break the coconut in two halves over a vessel.
Take out the coconut water from it. In India we have a special type of grater where one sits sideways.
There is a scraper at the end to grate the coconut.
Shred the coconut flesh. Grind it in the mixer/Food processor with 1 cup of water.
Squeeze it over a muslin cloth. The first squeeze will give a creamy thick coconut milk. Then add some 1-1.5 Cup of water in the mixer. Put back the squeezed shredded coconut. The next squeeze will give you the thin coconut milk.
Here I am using the thin coconut milk here.
Step 7: Puree Cucumber
Peel the cucumber.
Dice them into small squares.
Blend them in a blender.
Step 8: Season
Sieve the cucumber puree to remove the fiber and seeds.
Now for the seasoning. Add grated Nutmeg and cinnamon. Add pinch of pepper and salt.
Step 9: Prepare Soup
Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour or so.
To the cucumber, add lime, coconut milk and coconut water.
Step 10: Serve
I roasted few grated coconut till light brown.
Serve it chilled. To serve I added few slices of cucumber.
To give a contrast color I added few long strips of rind of cucumber.
It is refreshing and a wonderful soup when the climate is hot. Enjoy!