Tsatziki is a sauce found, with variations, all over the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. It is related to some of the raitas of India, and it generally has the same function, namely to add a cool, bright note to dishes. Many Greek meals would be unthinkable without tsatziki (I always make it with souvlaki), but it’s also good on its own, with nothing but pita bread to dip in it.
The recipe here is the one I’ve come to rely on; it’s easy and makes quite a bit, so you might want to cut it in half. Some versions have more or less dill, mint, garlic, or cucumber, and the cucumber can be grated rather than chopped. If you grate it, however, drain the cucumber well afterward to keep the sauce from being too watery. If you use full-fat yogurt, your tsatziki will be thicker than the version here.
Tsatziki (Cucumber-yogurt sauce) Recipe
- 5 cups low-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 2 seedless cucumbers peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Mix all ingredients and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, pp. 12-13.
If you can't get Greek-style yogurt, put *6 cups plain low-fat yogurt* in a sieve or colander lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth. Set over a large bowl and let drain, covered and refrigerated, for 24 hours. Discard the liquid and transfer the yogurt to a clean bowl.