Ovdukh is a refreshing summer soup of yoghurt, cucumber and herbs.It can also contain minced meat and hard-boiled eggs, but is most popular in its vegetarian form. Unlike in dovga, the yoghurt is not heated in ovdukh. A good ovdukh requires the right sort of yoghurt. Much of the plain yoghurt on sale in western Europe and North America does not have quite the right taste and texture for ovdukh. Home-made yoghurt or yoghurt from Russian, Turkish or Iranian delicatessens is best.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes if using meat
- 1 litre/35 UK fl. oz plain yoghurt
- 500 ml/18 UK fl. oz water
- 500 g/1.1 lb fresh cucumbers
- 200 g/8 oz spring onions
- 1 large bunch coriander
- 1 large bunch dill
- 1 bunch reyhan (purple basil)
- 2 large eggs
- 500 g/1.1 lb minced beef (optional)
- If using eggs, hard boil them and leave to cool.
- If using meat, fry the minced beef until cooked and leave to cool.
- Dilute the yoghurt with cool boiled water, stirring thoroughly.
- Peel the cucumbers and onions and chop very finely.
- Crush the garlic cloves. Use 2 cloves or more, according to taste.
- Wash and finely chop the herbs.
- Add the chopped cucumber, herbs, garlic and salt to the diluted yoghurt. Stir well.
- Shell and finely chop the eggs.
- Crumble the cooked minced beef (if using) and add with the eggs to the diluted yoghurt.
- Ovdukh is served chilled.