Tzatziki sauce is an easy and tasty recipe, typical in Greece, and very popular in the neighboring countries. Make a good Tzatziki is simple, but it requires prime quality ingredients and whole Greek yogurt. Commonly this sauce is flavored with fresh dill and vinegar, but lemon juice, and other fresh herbs are traditional and tasty as well. Here the recipe and history of Tzatziki!
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ORIGIN OF TZATZIKI SAUCE RECIPE
The preparation of Tzatziki is very ancient. Probably, this sauce has been created to use to excess of yogurt production.
The word Tzatziki derives from the Persian zhazh, that means herb mixture. Recipes similar to Tzatziki are very popular in Middle Eastern countries, Greece, and Southern Balkans.
In Turkey, Cacik is a variation of Tzatziki with Sumac spice, fresh mint, and water: served as soup or side dish.
In Balkans countries, this sauce is named Tarator, and enriched with walnuts and sometimes minced onions. Tarator is also popular in Albania and often paired with grilled squid.
TZATZIKI AND GREEK CUISINE
Spending a few days in Greece, you can understand how important Tzatziki is into the Greek cuisine. Along with Pita bread, Greek Salad and Moussaka, Tzatziki is always present from the smallest island of Aegean sea to the inland mountains.
The Tzatziki sauce is traditionally served in a bowl and paired with Pita and Souvlaki, or spread over Pita and completed with Gyros meat, onions, tomatoes and fries.
But, the versatile taste of this flavorful sauce permit some intriguing pairings far from the Greek tradition, like roasted salmon for instance.
TZATZIKI TIPS AND VARIATIONS
Depending on the local availability and traditions this sauce calls for some differences.
Even if the most popular herb to make Tzatziki sauce is fresh dill, many variations provide for different herbs like oregano, mint, or thyme.
The cucumber can be peeled or not, and grated or reduced into little cubes.
Some Tzatziki recipes suggest lemon juice instead of vinegar.
TZATZIKI SAUCE RECIPE
- 1.5 cup (350 g) whole Greek yogurt
- 1 (200 g) medium cucumber
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, minced
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- SEASONING THE GREEK YOGURT
First of all, mince the fresh dill and garlic. Now, combine the Greek yogurt with the extra-virgin olive oil, dill, and garlic. If you are preparing Tzatziki sauce in advance, store the mixture, wrapped, in the fridge up to 24 hours, then proceed to the next step; otherwise go forward immediately!
- FINISHING AND SERVING
Peel or not the cucumber, depending on your preferences, then grate it with the big holes side of a grater. Now, pour the grated cucumber in the sieve, add a pinch of salt and lose the vegetable water, stirring and pressing vigorously with a spoon. Finally, mix the cucumber with the yogurt sauce, salt to taste and serve.
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