Cooking for one: cucumber corn soup

It’s often difficult mustering up the energy to cook for one. Combined with a severe lack of kitchen space/appliances and the fact that casual Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong are ubiquitous and cheap (a large steaming bowl of soup noodles with a generous topping of ground pork and pickled vegetables is about $3.50US), it also just tends not to be worth doing, practically speaking. And in instances when the calling for cookery overwhelms the pragmatism within, the results are spotty and always well short of sublime. While I might get a healthier, heartier, or more rewarding meal from my pains, the principles of cooking for one — time-efficiency, minimal use of cookware, adherence to the tried and true — do not lend themselves to effecting extraordinary, or even memorable, gastronomic experiences. Every once in awhile, however, the stars in one’s culinary universe will align, and the joint efforts of a craving, idea/recipe, and the final execution (especially when the dish calls for nothing more than tossing and blending) forge a harmonious, delightful sensory interlude.

Such was the case earlier this week. I came back late at night from a particularly wearisome tutoring session, badly craving something light and refreshing. Hong Kong restaurant food is anything but “light and refreshing,” so I was forced to look elsewhere, namely at own two hands, to conquer this beast. I had a pack of Japanese cucumbers and some corn and mentally fast forwarded to the summer, when pureeing such ingredients to concoct a chilled soup would have been a no-brainer. While the weather wasn’t perfect, the timing was, and this recipe was an ideal guide while allowing some room for improv.

Chilled corn and cucumber soup:
– serves 3-4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main –
(Adapted from sassy radish)

Ingredients:

1 can corn (reserve can juice)
3 Japanese cucumbers
juice of 1 lime
1 clove of garlic, minced
diced jalapeno peppers to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 200g cup of plain yogurt
(Possible additions: avocado, tomatillos, onion, cashews, cilantro)

Method:

Cut cucumbers into 1 inch pieces. Combine cucumbers with lime juice and salt, and let rest for a few minutes to draw out water.

Combine cucumber mixture with remaining ingredients and pulse in blender until you reach desired consistency. Add corn juice as needed.

Season to taste and preferably chill before serving.

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