After such an elaborated and savory dish last week, this Thursday we decided to focus on something more delicate for your palate, yet one of the most appreciated Greek side dishes, the Tzatziki (or Cucumber Yogurt Dip).
Tzatziki combines fresh, simple ingredients such as garlic, olive oil, vinegar, cucumbers and of course strained yoghurt, and as a result we obtain a creamy, tasty dip which is perfect for pitas, vegetables, and souvlaki (a favorite Greek dish around the world, which we will talk about next week!). Tzatziki can thus be presented as a side dish, appetizer, or condiment.
There are many variations of this dish around the world. Greek cuisine as we have already seen, has a lot of middle eastern roots. In Turkey (Tzatziki takes its name from the Turkish Cacik, which means a form of chutney – for those who don’t know chutney is a mix of spices, vegetables and fruit that originates form the South Asian and Indian cuisine) for example it is served more diluted and often as a soup or salad. In Cyprus mint is a fundamental ingredient for Tzatziki while garlic is in less quantities. In Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia we find it instead of a salad as appetizer, and in Iraq it is served as a meze (appetizer) along with drinks.
If you need an easy and light side dish to serve at a cocktail party or as a starter to a dinner with friends, and – most of all – don’t mind having a garlic breath after eating it (but don’t worry, this dish is addicting so everyone else will have garlic breath as well!), here is a great recipe to make a delicious, tangy, creamy Tzatziki.
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 cup greek yogurt, strained
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
juice of a half lemon
1 tsp. chopped fresh dill
Peel and deseed the cucumbers. Then grate them or dice them in very thin pieces. Make sure that all the excess water is squeezed out of them.
In a bowl combine and mix olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon juice and garlic. In another bowl and with the use of a whisk blend in sour cream and yoghurt. Add both mixtures together. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill. Mix until the sauce looks creamy and homogeneous. Serve chill and with a spring of fresh dill before serving.