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Recipe File: Anghelika's Tsatsiki (Tzatziki)
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Old Woman

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:38 am    Post subject: Tips from an old woman's home kitchen. Reply with quote

The coffee filter method mentioned in previous posts, I have found to be the superior manner to strain yogurt. If I am straining larger quantities I use a larger mesh strainer and use about 5 or 6 filters to line the entire bowl of the strainer. I also will layer a few on top to add protection to the top layer of the yogurt. Always using the unbleached filters, the brown ones. The yocheese as it is then called may be used for anything you may imagine. Almost any creamy dairy substitution is possible. It is an excellent base to start replacing sour cream and cream cheese in your diet, even mayo.

The brash flavor of yocheese may be toned down with an undetectable amount of a sweetner of your choosing. The trick is if you can taste it, there is too much in it. It is not meant to sweeten the flavor but to fool the palate. If using a crystalized sweetner, remember it takes time for even small crystals to melt. Much like sugar in ice tea melts slowly. If you are making it into a sweet application, sugars change the texture of yocheese and dilute it. Natural sweetners such as sugar, honey, syrups, agave are the worst texture offenders. Those who tolerate artificial sweetners are in luck here. The traditional pink, blue, splenda etc. mix much better into the yocheese without changing texture. I have not tried the new stevia extractions which have just been released nationally, but powdered stevia has a strong taste and can be inconsistent. If you have access to stevia in it's herbal produce state I would highly praise it. It should be easy to come by in locations which have locally grown farmers markets such as California, Oregon and Washington as well as the East Coast. It sadly is not available in the rural midwest except as a powder.

From this point let your imagination be your guide to flavoring your yocheese. Try varieties of peppers, as well as layering pepper flavors. Black pepper is much different from white or red (cayanne). Fresh or dried each new pepper has it's own characteristics. If you were to plan to add 1/2 tsp. per recipe, instead try combining three different peppers adding up to 1/2 tsp. Heat is not the goal. Dishes can go from delightful to indegestible very quickly if peppers are too heavy handed. Correct peppering should feel like a light breeze as it crosses the palate.

From there your best friend is your herb garden. If you have any bit of soil you tend and you love cooking, grow herbs. The variety of herbs most people need to maintain a great gourmet home kitchen would be unattainable if purchased individually from the grocer. Both price and freshness are issues. I have one pot in my kitchen now which contains thyme, parsley, cilantro, basil and chives. Seeds should be in stores soon and anyone who has not explored herbs, I would encourage to do so. Start them indoors now and plant outside two weeks after last frost date for your area. Inexpensive grow lights can add the needed boost to natural light from your kitchen window and can be purchased for little at your hardware or in the hardware section of your box store.

Salt. Take a second look at salt if you have not lately. It comes in many forms from around the globe now and has excellent flavor qualities as well as utilitarian purposes for changing the water content of recipes. After grating or chopping cukes, try even a dash of salt on them then drain them in the fridge in a seperate container from the yocheese. The salt extracts the water and intensifies the flavor of the vegetable. If your coleslaw is watery, this is your answer. Salt your cabbage first, drain and dry it, then dress it. If you like slaw on your dogs then this will produce a slaw dry enough not to make the bun soggy.

And finally, many thanks to the author of this blog. I've been a fan since your pnb cookies was posted. The recipe you gave using weight measures is excellent. It prevents too much flour from being used which is the downfall of most pnb cookies. You may want to try this web cook's flour-free pnb cookies. Your friends won't even know they are flour-free!

Best wishes for your exceptional blog!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Tsajiki with roast chicken and fresh bread. Best meal ever. I also recommend dill weed, lots of garlic and vinegar. I use the grated cucumber method - but I've never squeezed mine, I think I'll start. It always ends up on the runny side, even with Greek or drained yogurt.

Hey! Do you have a recipe for homemade Greek yogurt?? Unsure [/i]
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use almost the same recipe as above but like another user I use fresh or dried dill. My family comes from Northern Greece and many recipes are like this, the spices and herbs used vary from 'traditional' recipe to 'traditional' recipe. I found I also like a extra kick and put a dash of cayenne in. I can also see how red or white wine would work better but always have balsamic on hand and use that but just makes a bit darker tzatziki. Also the water content of a cucumber variates varys alot, you cant really scoop the seeds out of a long english and this works well for either one, grate your cucumber and put in fine screen sieve with 1/2 salt, let sit for 15 min, this will draw out the moisture. Great site!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:09 pm    Post subject: the use of drained plain yogurt Reply with quote

Make certain you are using a plain yogurt that does not contain any starch modifiers or gelatin. These ingredients will make it impossible to separate the whey from the solids. Several store and "budget" brands contain these ingredients.
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 11:34 pm    Post subject: Making your own Greek style yogurt or yocheese Reply with quote

Hi! I love this recipe and have linked it to my own blog telling people to go here. It is wonderful and has some zing to it with the vinegar. I like to use an entire cucumber. I do everything mentioned here only I take the other half of the cucumber and chop it into larger chunks after removing the seeds. I mix it into yocheese to avoid getting too runny and then add a dab of whey I saved to get it the right consistency if it is not creamy enough. Yumm. I also add fresh dill and a little extra vinegar for kick. I often use it as a dip.

Someone asked how to make Greek style yogurt. Here is a link (below) to how I make it. It will also link you to the incubator I use as well. The post is a little long. I hope to clean it up soon. It is worth the time to make your own.

Again thank you for this recipe. I was looking everywhere for a good one. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:46 pm    Post subject: Strain Yogurt Reply with quote

Another good way to strain yogurt is to line a fine mesh strainer with a coffee filer, place it over a bowl, add the yogurt, place in the fridge until it is the desired thickness.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:56 pm    Post subject: Lactose Intolerant Reply with quote

Can anyone suggest options for people who are lactose intolerant? I can't digest the Greek yogurt that is sold at Trader Joe's but I'm okay with regular plain yogurt and with sour cream. (Wish I knew how to figure out the lactose "intensity" in different foods!).Thanks!
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Ravi Shanghavi

Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 4
Location: Ottawa, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:30 pm    Post subject: excellent stuff! Reply with quote

Thanks for the recipe! I'm really quite particular about my taziki. I'll definitely give this a go, seems like there are lots of easy adjustments to make. Cheers, Ravi Shanghavi
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: momther-in law from alexandria Reply with quote

This is a great recipe! My mother in law is an Alexandrian, (Egyptian Greek). Many years ago she recommended using labne in her tsaziki. I tried this today with Angheleki's recipe and it worked just great. If you get the traditional- home style brand labne which is very thick it will help with the addition of the cucumbers and oil and still keep it nice and thick.I also use add dill and use white wine vinegar.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply to ElenaW Reply with quote

You might try goat yogurt.
I am under the impression that goat milk causes less issues for many lactose-intolerant people. So even strained it might not bother you.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:29 am    Post subject: Tzatziki Reply with quote

The key my yiayia taught me was to fold in the ingredients instead of stirring, the more you stir the more liquid is produced. We make it and eat it immediately instead of waiting a day... but we are using actual ingredients in Greece, not sure how big of a difference it makes.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Great Recipe Layout Reply with quote

As a user experience designer and former programmer, this is abosultely the BEST LAYOUT of a RECIPE I have ever seen. Unmistakeably clear, hard to screw up. I wish they were all like this on every recipe webiste. Kudos!

I'm sorry the lengths you have to go through for spambots is so painful, but I understand.
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Steve Michigan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:14 am    Post subject: thickening tsadziki Reply with quote

Nice job on the recipe and the tweaks suggested in the comments, I will try some of them.

Maybe you prefer strained yogurt but if you just want it thicker I think it's easier to:

-Put the yogurt/tsadziki in a larger container than necessary
-Neatly fold a cotton towel and lightly pat it down on top of the yogurt. If it's really runny to begin with, put down a folded paper towel first and then the towel. That confines most of the mess to the paper towel. It is only sticky this first time.
-Put it in the refrigerator and wait an hour, two, whatever
-Take it out and wring the towel out, it will be sopping wet. Look at the texture of the substance; if you want it thicker then put the towel back on top and repeat.

I've been making yogurt and tsadziki for many years, my uncle taught me this trick when I worked for him in his restaurant. He would make yogurt and tsadziki by the 5-gallon pail and after doing the above a couple of times the entire bucket was a perfect consistency. It works on both yogurt and finished tsadziki. You can firm it up exactly as much as needed, with a bunch of iterations this method will make it as thick as concrete if that's what you want.
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Z from Hungary

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:23 pm    Post subject: different or the same? Reply with quote

In Hungary we have a traditional cucumber salad which is very similar in taste to this recepie (and off course, we know and use tzatziki in these multicultural days)
The salad is made of peeled and sliced - maximum 1 mm thickness, engineers!) cucumber, which must be salted, and cca. 5 minutes later gently pressed to drain the excess juice. Then the pressed or sliced garlic is added. Salads in Hungary are usually made with a vinegar-diluted-with-water-and-spiced-with-salt-and-sugar dressing. On this salad we add only a small amount of this dressing - cca. double the amount of the juice pressed out. And then we stir in some sour cream (20% fat). (You don't have to totally homogenize with the dressing, but it's up to you.) On the top we sprinkle some red paprika powder - not the hot, but the sweet kind - for its color, scent and taste is seldom omitted from Hungarian dishes.
I think this salad must have the same roots as tzatziki: Hungary was under Ottoman rule for one and half century, so our ancestors must have heard about 'cacik' too :o)
But it is still a different food: the paprika, sour cream and garlic gives its particular "Hungarian" taste. And we usually eat salads only as side dishes: this "Tejfölös uborkasaláta" is very good to fried chicken garnished with potato (diced, cooked in salted water , served with chopped parsley green on the top).
Give it a try!

Thanks for the awesome website, love the idea. (I'm a chemistry teacher, not engineer, but think similarly about cooking.)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject: Tsatziki Reply with quote

Unless you really enjoy the bother of straining yoghurt, in the US just buy Fage brand. It's the best and most authentic - and probably started the recent mania for so-called "Greek yoghurts."
By the way, in Greece tsatziki is simply served as a refreshing appetizer with crusty bread. Having a little ouzo with it enhances the experience.
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