Tzatziki

In the book one might spot some tzatziki in the illustration for pitta bread. We have loved tzatziki since visiting Athens many years ago and it makes a regular appearance here. It is good with various flatbreads, excellent as a dressing for a homemade kebab, and perfect as a light snack or appetiser served with a crusty white bread.

grated cucumber is really wet and needs to be squeezed out before using
grated cucumber is really wet and needs to be squeezed out before using

Tzatziki is quick and easy to make, the main ingredients being grated cucumber and thick Greek yoghurt; ordinary yoghurt is not really suitable, being too watery once the other ingredients are added. Traditionally, tzatziki is flavoured with a lot of garlic, which we like, but one can vary the amount according to preference. Recipes often include mint, but I much prefer it with dill, which is how we had it in Greece.

Tzatziki is best prepared a couple of hours ahead of time to allow the flavours of garlic and dill to infuse properly.

tzatziki with pitta bread
tzatziki with pitta bread

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 400g Greek yoghurt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (or lemon juice if preferred)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch (c. 20g) dill
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Method

Peel the cucumbers and grate using a coarse grater.

Take a handful of the grated cucumber at a time and squeeze hard to extract the excess liquid, adding the flesh to a bowl.

Peel the garlic and crush with the back of a knife until a smooth paste is formed; a little coarse salt is helpful in this regard.

Finely chop the dill and add to the bowl, along with the garlic paste, vinegar, and olive oil.

Mix well and adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Refrigerate and, ideally, allow a couple of hours for the flavour to develop.

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