Zucchini Buttermilk Soup

IMG_1298Picture this..3 teenaged kids in the coastal southern town of thiruchendur, hot and tired after playing with the waves. Just as we are about to collapse out of sheer exhaustion, out of the ocean emerges a mirage, an old woman carrying an earthen pot on her head calling out ‘buttermilk’. Pleading with our parents for some, we pull deeply into our earthenware tasting that delicious cool drink on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

In this post I’ll share my recipe for buttermilk soup dedicating it to that lovely vendor who quenched our thirst so aptly. Though I give you portion sizes for 4, be warned that you might be tempted to keep it all for yourself, this sensuous soup will awaken your senses like none other can. For a long time, thinking about the cooling effects of yoghurt I avoided it during the Canadian winter months or whenever I felt the onset of a cold. However on a trip to Delhi a few years ago, my mom dragged me to the doctor demanding she knock some sense into me as I wasn’t behaving true to my southern roots by declining mom’s homemade yoghurt. The good doctor clarified that it was ok to have heated yoghurt in the winter months. There are many versions of this soup. Mine uses few spices and zucchini a locally available ingredient.

The main spice in my recipe is coriander, a digestive aid. You might have had a love hate relationship with fresh cilantro. But you’re bound to love coriander seed and what it can do for you to help digest food.

3 cups yoghurt (I make my mine from 2% milk, store bought works or best effect with buttermilk)
1 zucchini cubed (or winter melon if you can find it in a Chinese grocery store)


Spice Mix
4 curry leaves
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp yellow split peas
1/3 tsp black mustard seeds
1  dry red chili pepper or to taste
1 tsp coriander seeds(not fresh cilantro)
1 tsp fresh grated coconut(or dry coconut readily available in grocery stores, just not pre-sweetened)
Salt to taste
 Serves 4 

Pots and pans
Food processor





  1. Soak cilantro seeds, dry red chili pepper, yellow split peas, coconut, and ginger in ¼ cup of water for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile peel and chop zucchini into small cubes SOS – normally I wouldn’t peel zucchini in my other spice recipes, but this light  soup needs delicacy & peeled zucchini lends itself better to this soup.
  3. Heat oil in saucepan.
  4. Add mustard seeds, when they splutter, add curry leaves, zucchini, turmeric powder and salt. Toss everything once.
  5. Add ¼ cup water and let cook.
  6. Whisk yoghurt in bowl.
  7. Grind the spices in food processor & add to whisked yoghurt.
    SOS – you might be tempted to eat the freshly sautéed zucchini. Can’t say I blame you. I faced the same temptation when I made it last night! But bear with me. The end result will be worth the wait.
  8.  Add the spiced yoghurt to the cooked zucchini.
  9. Watch the yoghurt on a low heat setting. SOS pay attention at this point that you don’t leave the stove unmanned. Otherwise yoghurt & water will separate making for a watery soup.
  10. Remove from stove.  Enjoy. SOS –  I shared it with my coworker with some lentil crackers.

Health Benefits

The biggest benefits of cilantro are its cholesterol lowering effects and lowering of blood sugar. SOS tip- whenever you use cilantro seed, soak in water for approx 10 minutes for the aromatic oils to be released gently.

Fun Facts
Cilantro is old. Over 2,000 years ago, the herb could be found flourishing in the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Coriander, the seed, even makes an appearance as an aphrodisiac in “Tales of the Arabian Nights.” Coriander is common in South Asian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, Tex-Mex, Latin American, Portuguese, Chinese, African, and Scandinavian cuisine.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe. I’d love to hear how you fared in your making. Remember the main ingredient in this soup is buttermilk (from yoghurt), the main spice is cilantro and the main star is you that you’re seeking to nourish.


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