Celery-Cucumber Buttermilk Soup with Couscous

There is a Moroccan country soup that’s so simple yet so delicious. You never see it in books or recipe sites—perhaps because it’s so simple it doesn’t qualify as a recipe. It is made with lben (buttermilk) and couscous and, well…, nothing else. You either love it or you don’t. Nobody I know has a middle opinion about it.

I am one who loves it. I think you will too.

I have received a few email requests for Ramadan recipes and immediately thought of this buttermilk soup called saikok. I’m not sure if the name has a meaning but it sounds rustic like the soup itself. I thought something this traditional would be fitting for the holiday. I also thought the enzymes in the fermented milk would be healthful for the tummies of those fasting (and those who aren’t). I added celery, cucumber and basil for a fresher taste, added vitamins and a pretty green color (no longer so rustic-looking with the green color). It came out tangy, fragrant and refreshing—perfect for summer. And yes it is a cold soup; a Moroccan-style gazpacho, if you would!

Happy fasting and feasting!



Yield: 4 GENEROUS servings

Total Time: 15 min


1/3 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil
8 celery sticks, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
10 basil leaves
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
4 cups buttermilk or kefir
2 cups cooked whole grain couscous


Place the water, olive oil, chopped celery, cucumbers and basil in the container of a blender. Season with salt and pepper. Blend for at least 1 minute, until very smooth.

Strain the mixture into a pitcher or a large bowl (and discard the solids). Add the buttermilk or kefir and stir.

Divide the couscous among 4 serving bowls. Pour the buttermilk-vegetable mixture over the couscous. Stir a bit. Enjoy!

You may serve the soup right away or chill for an hour or two.

Other Ramadan Recipes:


Chicken and Couscous Soup
Date and Cashew Shake
Deconstructed Baklava


Other Soup Recipes.


9 Responses to “Celery-Cucumber Buttermilk Soup with Couscous”

  1. 1

    Eha — 07/30/2012 @ 12:13 am

    Not only does this look good; not only will it taste good [well I love the ingredients and have imagination!], but it must be one of the healthiest soups I have ever seen in cyberspace. Thank you, Nisrine, hope the little guy is not giving you too strong kicks :) !!!

  2. 2

    Samawi — 07/30/2012 @ 8:51 am

    thank you Nisrine! this will be great for Ramadan nights!! And maybe even early-mornings too, before we start the fast.
    Merci beaucoup!!
    You are very kind!

  3. 3

    Nisrine — 07/30/2012 @ 7:08 pm

    Eha – He is!

  4. 4

    Nisrine — 07/30/2012 @ 7:08 pm

    Samawi – you’ve very welcome.

  5. 5

    baker street — 08/01/2012 @ 4:02 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever tried a buttermilk soup but I’m sure it tastes fantastic! That first picture is just lovely! :)

  6. 6

    JulieD — 08/01/2012 @ 5:45 pm

    This looks so simple yet elegant and beautiful! I have never had a buttermilk soup before but I want to now!

  7. 7

    Sues — 08/02/2012 @ 7:14 am

    This lokos beautiful! I love buttermilk and cucumber flavor in everything!

  8. 8

    Kayla — 12/06/2012 @ 9:35 pm

    Can you use something other than buttermilk? Does it have the bitter taste that buttermilk does it hide it?

    • Nisrine replied: — December 7th, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

      The buttermilk wasn’t bitter but you could use yogurt if you prefer.

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