Tzatziki is a traditional world-famous Greek appetizer. Tzatziki is a simple but extremely savory and refreshing dip, a combination of strained (very Greek) yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, dill, olive oil, vinegar, and salt, is a cold salty desert of the Greek cuisine. Some people consider it a Greek salad as well, therefore, when in a Greek restaurant you can find it under the salads section of the menu.
Tzatziki, the word coming from the Turkish word cacik (chutney) is eaten in many parts of the world, in different variations and under different names. In Greece there are also some variations of this salad, depending whether vinegar or lemon juice is used, dill or mint, etc. But the most important is that real tzatziki has to be made of Greek strained yogurt – made either from sheep or goat milk.
Secrets for tasty tzatziki
The magic secret for the most tasty tzatziki is to refrigerate it for at least couple of hours before serving! That is how all ingredients release their most intense flavors.
Cucumbers should be also particularly prepared in order to contribute to the Greek tzatziki. The best way is to pill and seed cucumbers and then grate or cut them in very small pieces. Since tzatziki is a dense mixture, prepared cucumbers should be let aside for awhile to release excessive juice. Otherwise, they will make tzatziki watery.
Greeks eat tzatziki with any dish, but it’s impossible to imagine meat dishes, especially grilled meat and lamb chops- without tzatziki. They also use it for souvlaki and Greek gyros.
In restaurants, tzatziki is often served with pita bread as an appetizer. It’s also interesting that in restaurants tzatziki is always served with few drops of olive oil at the top and an olive.
Greek Tzatziki Recipe
Greek strained yogurt
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced or grated
2 tablespoon of kosher salt
Chopped fresh dill
Preparation of tzatziki doesn’t take much time. If you plan to make it in advance, be sure to keep both yogurt and cucumbers in the refrigerator before the time to prepare the salad comes. Pill and seed (if necessary) cucumbers, cut or grate them, and set aside. In the meantime, pill garlic and cut it in small pieces (but not to small so that they keep the juice). Mix oil and vinegar in the bowl, and fold yogurt into it to mix completely. Add garlic, cucumber, and dill, and salt according to taste. Stir slowly and evenly. Once you make it, put it in the refrigerator for at least two hours