by Cat, Dec 2007 (Photo, right, from wikimedia commons)
I first had Tsatziki when it was served with a Greek Gyro at a Portland restaurant called The Souvlaki Stop. That restaurant is no longer in business, but their food started my love affair with Greek food.
Tsatziki (or tastsiki) and variations of this wonderful sauce are found in most Middle Eastern and Balkan countries, but perhaps is most well known in the US as a Greek sauce, commonly used in gyro sandwiches. It has a very cool flavor from the dill and mint, making it excellent for summer picnics or backyard grills.
Mediterranean Cucumber Dip with Yogurt (Tsatziki)
This recipe is adapted from A Passion for Vegetables, by Vera Gewanter (1). See also the Tweeton Media (3) website for another authentically Greek version.
I make my own Plain Homemade Yogurt, as I find it has the best sour flavor. But you can also use commercial Greek yogurt, which is sweeter.
Be sure to squeeze most of the moisture out of the grated cucumber, unless you want a very runny sauce.
Serves 6 – 8. See below the recipe for ingredients to serve 2 – 3, and for variations (to make thicker or thinner).
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 ½ medium-sized cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
- 2 ½ cups Plain Homemade Yogurt
- 2 – 4 small cloves garlc, crushed
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (or you can use apple cider vinegar)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried)
- 2 tsp chopped fresh mint (or 1 tsp dried), optional
- Unrefined sea salt and white pepper, to taste
Ingredient amounts to serve 2:
½ medium cucumber (or ⅓ English cucumber); ¾ cup plain yogurt, 1 clove garlic; ¼ tsp salt; 1 Tbsp olive oil; 1 tsp vinegar; 1 tsp dried dill weed (or 2 tsp fresh, chopped); ¾ tsp chopped fresh mint; ⅛ tsp white pepper, or to taste.
- Peel cucumber (scoop out seeds if not using seedless cucumber); however, don’t peel an English cucumber. Chop or coarsely grate the cucumber into a bowl. Strain and squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.
- Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl and whip with a fork or whip to combine.
- Add cucumber to yogurt mixture and mix well.
- Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving, to allow the cuc to marinate.
- You can make this thicker by using yogurt cheese (yogurt strained 1 or more hours to desired consistency).
- You can also use this as a salad dressing, but if you want it to be thinner, stir in a little raw milk.
- A Passion for Vegetables, by Vera Gewanter
- The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas