Greek Tzatziki…

They call it dip, salad, paste, sauce, they say the name is Turkish, Persian… plenty wrote about it philosophizing, searching for its origin, from India, N. Africa, and the Balkans.

The whole world has talked about it, food writers voiced their opinion, had arguments about it, for such a simple “dip”. You will find more than 80 different recipes on the net. Does anyone really care?

Tzatziki is Greek, it will stay Greek and it is the most famous Greek food in the world!!! (Older than Greek Mousaka)

The Ottoman Empire, ruled over Greece from the 16Th century till World War 1. During this period, it was mandatory to give Turkish names to all Greek foods hence many Greek dishes still have their names of Turkish origin. That’s all; the rest is just small talk.

The Tzatziki made Greek yogurt famous, and gave life to the tasteless the cucumber. More garlic is being used in Greece to make Tzatziki than any other dish. There is not one order given in a restaurant without saying “vale kai ena tzatzikaki”. There will be no gyros without it, no fried zucchini, no “yiaourtlou” without it, and no lamb on the spit without a side order of TZATZIKI. Lately even gourmet restaurants made it into a “foam” or “ice cream”.

tzatziki garlic

And it is so simple to make… here is my version:

Take 1lb (450grms… I never understood why they didn’t make it at least 500grms) of good thick full cream Greek yogurt, no substitutes (nonfat, less calories, light rubbish)
The same weight in cucumber (1lb) you will be left half anyway after straining it.
Garlic? As much as you like, my suggestion 4 good size cloves will do the trick.
1tbsp of finely chopped fresh mint (dry if you don’t have it fresh)
1oz (35ml) of good wine vinegar
1, 5oz (50ml) olive oil
1tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dry Greek oregano

tzatziki cucumber

  • Wash the cucumbers, skin and all, and grate over a sieve. Sprinkle with a little salt and let strain for about 30 minutes. Squeeze remaining water with your hand.
  • Peel and crush the garlic cloves to a pulp.
  • Wash, dry and finely chop the mint leaves.
  • Add all the ingredients in the yogurt, mix well, taste, adjust seasoning according to your taste. Place in a covered bowl, refrigerate for about an hour before serving… make a new one quick that was not enough!!!

tzatziki mix

By Tony Kavalieros

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