This Polish-style ‘Chłodnik Ogórkowy’ (pron. ‘hwoah-dnick ogoor-kovie’) is a tangy Cold Cucumber Soup based on soured milk.
It’s flavoured with strong-tasting brine (the one that’s left over from fermenting full sour pickles). Fresh dill, sorrel and young beet greens add that fresh, spring-time vibe.
This Cold Cucumber Soup is a perfect make-ahead first course or light lunch. Just prep it in the morning and let it chill in the fridge. Serve with a hard-boiled egg and garnishes of your choice.
For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.
This recipe is inspired by a dish from Maria Disslowa’s 1931’s classic cookbook called “Jak gotować: praktyczny podręcznik kucharstwa” (“How to cook: a practical culinary manual”).
She served her Cold Cucumber Soup with crayfish tails – it was a popular ingredient at the time.
I found similar soups in other publications, where it’s often referred to as a regional dish of Podlachia.
Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Cold Cucumber Soup?
Some of the ingredients might be tricky to find, but there are some alternatives.
Soured Milk: Nope, it’s not spoiled – it’s delicious!
🇵🇱 In Poland, you can find it in the dairy section of larger supermarkets.
🌍 Internationally, you could substitute soured milk with kefir, cultured buttermilk, or (if you couldn’t find the former) some natural, unsweetened yoghurt. If you’re feeling adventurous, here’s the Soured Milk recipe to make at home.
Sorrel and Young Beet Leaves: they’re a delightful produce, sadly only available seasonally.
🇵🇱 In Poland, their season peaks in May and June. I always try to freeze a few portions, to enjoy them later in the year. You won’t find any in a supermarket, but sorrel and young beets are plentiful at farmer’s markets and produce stalls.
🌍 Internationally, it would be worth checking at your local farmer’s market. Alternatively, look out for canned sorrel at an Eastern European deli. If you can’t find either version – that’s okay, just skip these leaves and add a squeeze of lemon juice instead.
How should you serve this Cold Cucumber Soup?
Cucumber Chłodnik is usually served with boiled eggs, either halved or quartered. Other popular garnishes (which pair nicely with other cold soups as well) include:
- Fresh radishes, cucumber slices, raw salad sprouts
- Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin seeds
- Croutons, crunchy soup pearls
- Vegetable chips or edible flowers
What should you serve with Cucumber Chłodnik soup?
This Cold Cucumber Soup is usually served as an appetizer, without any sides. But if you would like to serve something extra to go with it, my suggestions would be:
- Fresh bread or baguette with a touch of butter
- Crispy toasts, plain or topped with garlic or cheese
Drink-wise, sparkling white wine pairs well. I usually serve it with ‘Grodzkie’ beer – it’s a light, carbonated brew, known as ‘Polish Champagne’.
Can you make this Cold Cucumber Soup another way?
No, not really. You can make a few ingredient substitutes, but I’ve already outlined them above.
What diets is this Cucumber Chłodnik suitable for?
This recipe is suitable for vegetarians. It is also low-carb and keto friendly.
If you skip any grain-based garnishes (such as croutons), it will be gluten-free as well.
How long can you keep this Cold Cucumber Soup in the fridge?
You can refrigerate this soup for up to 2-3 days. Make sure that the soup is stored in a container with a lid.
Please note, that if you’re planning to store this soup for more than 2 days, it’s best not to add any sorrel, beet greens or chopped dill. If you do, the soup spoils quicker. Instead, add these fresh greens immediately before serving.
Can I freeze this Cold Cucumber Soup?
Sadly, no. I don’t recommend freezing this soup. I did make a few tests, and the results were unsatisfactory.
- 2 cucumbers (around 8.5oz / 240g each), English, seedless
- 2-3 tbsp sorrel leaves, optional (see notes for subs)
- handful (around 2 tbsp) of spring beet leaves, optional
- 2 cups (480-500 ml) soured milk (see notes for subs)
- 1 cup (250 ml) pickle juice (brine from full sour pickles)
- 1/2 bunch fresh dill (approx. 1 oz, 28 g), chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- black pepper, freshly ground, to season
- Peel the cucumbers. You can cut a few long cucumber ribbons with a veggie peeler, to set them aside for decoration. Slice the rest into small pieces. Chop half of them very finely, that way the texture of the soup will be more varied.
- Drop cucumber pieces into a large bowl and salt them lightly. Set aside.
- [Optional step] If using sorrel and spring beet leaves, chop them roughly and drop them into a small saucepan with just enough water to cover the leaves half-way. Quick braise on a medium-low for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine soured milk with pickle juice.
- Add in chopped cucumber, braised sorrel and beet leaves (if used) and most of the dill. Combine together and have a taste. If it’s not salty enough, season it a bit more.
- Leave 'Chłodnik' in the fridge to cool. Depending on how robust your fridge is, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. If you can wait a bit longer - even better! That will let the flavours develop together.
- Pour 'Chłodnik' into individual bowls or soup plates. Garnish with boiled eggs (halved or quartered), the rest of chopped dill, cucumber ribbons (if you sliced them) and freshly ground black pepper.
- This recipe is adapted from Maria Disslowa’s 1931’s cookbook called “Jak gotować: praktyczny podręcznik kucharstwa” (“How to cook: a practical culinary manual”). Digitized edition of the original (in Polish) is available to view here at Polona.pl
- Soured milk can be replaced with kefir, cultured buttermilk, or - as a last resort - natural yoghurt. Alternatively, here’s a Soured Milk recipe.
- You can use sorrel from a jar.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 433mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 9g
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