Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I've been asked by a few what exactly tzatiki is. It's basically a sauce made from yogurt, lemons, garlic and cucumber and, albeit time consuming, it's surprisingly easy to make at home!

This recipe is my tweaked version of the one from the blog Fields of Cake, and Other Good Stuff. I'll take you through it step by step with pictures. Don't worry.

First you need the basics.

32 ounce tub of plain yogurt, I used low fat,but whole or fat free would also work.
1 English cucumber; shredded
1/2 tsp lemon zest
juice from one lemon
5 garlic cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

Start with the yogurt. I knew I wasn't going to be in the need of 32 oz of tzatiki, so I halved it. It was enough for dinner, plus leftover, plus extra. It's great to dip pita chips into.

In a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter, propped over a clean bowl, strain yogurt. This way you can get rid of any excess liquids. I strained mine for 2 hours, but you can do it overnight in the fridge.

Instantly it should start to drain. I lost about a 3/4 of a cup of liquid over the course of 2 hours.

Next you are going to want to prepare your cucumber. English cucumbers work best because they don't really have seeds. You can usually find them in your market. If you can't grab a regular one and de-seed it. Peel the skin off.

Next you want to shred your cucumber. I used a food processor becuase its much easier and it helped me get rid of any extra juice. If you don't have a food processor, you can grate it with a cheese grater and then squeeze off the liquids in a paper towel.

Once you've removed the liquids, you are going to just quickly run a sharp knife thru it to make sure its thoroughly chopped.

Transfer the drained yogurt into a bowl and add the cucumbers to it.

Next comes the lemon zest and juice. If you don't have a lemon zester, you can once again use the rough side of a cheese grater or even the edge of a knife. Zest about 1/4 a tsp off the rind and mix it in. Juice the lemon. I recommend using a separate bowl so you don't get any seeds into the sauce.

Press 5 cloves of garlic and add that into the mix as well. I like to press the garlic because it really releases the oils and flavor, but not everyone owns a presser, so if you are one of those people, buy one!! To hold you off until then, smash garlic under a knives blade with the palm of your hand (like below) and mince.

Add the rest of the spices into the yogurt and mix well. Allow the flavor to develop for at least 20 minutes. It should look something like this when done.

It keeps for a few days in the fridge and is wonderful on pita, lamb, burgers, and the shwarma recipe as well.

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  1. Oh it was soooo good! Make the chicken with it and stuff it in a pita with veggies. TO DIE FOR!


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