I make this often by taking a regular tub of yogurt, dumping it into cheesecloth, and suspending the cheesecloth ball over something (like a tall 2l pitcher) overnight. Just gather the ends of the cheesecloth with a rubber band and stick a chopstick through.
In the morning the yogurt is thick and all the liquid is in the bottom of the pitcher.
I made this last week and used lemon juice instead of the red wine vinegar, it turned out really well.
It is very common to add chopped freash mint.
I think for this recipie you would add a 2 Tbs spoons.
If you don't have freash mint add 1 teaspoon of dried mint.
That's basically the same as the (not necessarily authentic) recipe I use, except that my recipe also calls for fresh dill.
I know that you can use the sauce on Gyros. Do any of you have reccomendations for what you can serve with it as a dip? I was thinking of pita bread, but are there any other ideas?
Great recipe. If possible and you can find them in your area I would recommend an english cucumber for this dish over the standard american one. Alot less seeds and a slightly different flavor. Also while we call it english it is the more common cucumber you find throughout Europe (including Greece!)
I use the same method to thicken yogurt (after the hint from Alton Brown--not an engineer, but cooks like one!); however, you only need about two hours to get a good and thick result. Also, FWIW, I use a woodskewer to support the cheesecloth and a plastic "bag clip" to secure it.
I love tzatziki on chicken souvlaki (broiled chicken on wooden skewers). It's also magnificent on french fries with crumbled feta on top! Greek food rocks! B)
2 cloves? That's it?!
We are Greek and like many more. :D
Of course, everyone has to try some then.
I'm from Brazil, but my mother's family is from Lebanon.
I don't know any Grrek food, but guess what! It just suits our arab cuisine perfectly!
Tzatziki, after all, turns out to be an spiced "labanie" (dry yogurt).
I'll try it your way.
If you want to try it our way as well, we usually add olives and the spiced olive oil it comes in. Great to eat with pita bread.
Try the yogurt with tomatoes, olive oil and salt on a pita bread sandwich.
It's funny to see how food is an universal language, isn't it? :D
This is generally the Greek way: Greek Yogurt, (very good idea of Sean's to strain regular yogurt if Greek one not available), I don't peel the cucumber or remove the seeds but grate it on the thick side add salt and let it drain then squeeze the water out. (The cucumber peel makes it more digestible). Mix into the yogurt with the crushed garlic (some put more cloves some less). Add more salt if necessary, olive oil and a dash of vinegar. Adding chopped dill is optional but a very good addition.
Tzatziki is also delicious with fried zucchini, aubergines and is an excellent dip for raw vegetables, and anything you feel it tastes good with.
I absolutely love tzatziki- especially with Triscuits! The texture is perfect with the sauce, and the saltiness of them is a great compliment to the flavors.
(I also use fresh mint & dill, it brings a nice subtle coolness to the dip)
I am Greek and i think the best Tzatziki is made from traditional goat yogurt,lemon from Korinth,olive oil from Kalamata,cucumber,garlic and anithos(i dont know how its called in english).This is the recipe of my grandmother.I love it.Try it :)
Kisses from beautifull Greece
Nikolas apo Korintho :)
"anithos" is "dill" :)
in lieu of greek style yogurt, try mixing roughly equal parts of a thicker brand of low fat yogurt and sour cream and using less vinegar. also, you could substitute white vinegar and lemon juice for the red wine vinegar. and if you prefer not to use garlic, consider using white pepper for a little spice.
in honor of valentine's day one year, we used red vinegar and food dye to color the tzaziki and feta sauces pink. unfortunately, the gesture backfired as many customers mistook it as a sign of undercooked meat....
Hello from east San Francisco bay!!
Thanks for the site... i came across it looking for a recipe!!
Tonight I made an awesome Tzatziki using mint from my garden (and cucumber from Safeway!!) I made a bed of salad (dark greens, grated carrot, avocado, sunflower seeds, sliced apple, raisins, crumbled feta), tossed LIGHTLY with an Italian vinaigrette (made with apple cider vinegar and an extra teaspoon of raw honey). Then i thinly sliced some lamb and browned it in a skillet with some olive oil, S & P, and half an onion. After that had cooked and cooled a bit, I put the meat/onions over the top of the salad, then put the Tzatziki dressing over the meat. It was my own "recipe" (although a salad with meat on it really cant be called a recipe!!!) and it turned out SMASHING!! Rave reviews from the company, and i thought it was good too!!
This is the recipe for the Tzatziki that I made (although i didn't actually MEASURE per se... but its the general idea anyway...)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled / diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
Freshly ground black pepper
(I only had regular yogurt... i'm going to make my own, so i used some of my "starter" for this recipe... Greek yogurt is thicker... if i had had time, I would have put some cheese cloth in a colander, put the yogurt in there, and let it sit for 4-5 hours and drain/thicken.)
So... another use for this awesome sauce!!
I have found that using Balkan Style 6% fat yogurt works wonderfully. I use a basket coffee filter in a strainer, over a bowl, to drain yogurt. i wrap the whole thing up in the fridge for 24 hrs and I get a nice thick dryish yogurt. Then I mix in the other ingredients, YUM!
I make my own yogurt and then strain it to get something closer to the consistency of Greek yogurt (the homemade yogurt tastes more like Greek yogurt, and is just better than store-bought anyway). And I always add dill - that's how I grew up eating it, and I just prefer it that way. Very good on gyros or schawarma and much, much more.
I saw a top chef (Canada's Michael Smith) show great way to strain yogurt: place a COFFEE FILTER into a small strainer, suspend over a bowl, pour yogurt into the filter, place all in the fridge overnight - the result is beautiful thick yogurt
I make tzatziki a lot and your recipe is similar to mine (although I use lemon juice instead of vinegar) but most of the Greek style yogurt you can get in the supermarket isn't strained but rather has thickening agents added (FAGE afaik is actually strained - but I don't think TJ's is). And unfortunately when you introduce the cucumber and the vinegar/lemon juice it ends up thinner than I like.
So I go ahead and strain the Greek style yogurt as well.
You can strain after the cucumber and juice. In fact, just mix the (regular) yogurt, cucumber and lemon juice (vinegar? eeech!) together and then strain until thick. Ummmm...
Remember, texture is just as important as flavor.
We use this to make Tuna Salad... It makes a wonderful substitution for the Mayo... We use no-fat Greek Style yogurt from Trader Joes.
I just wanted to add that Fage yogurt is what I use and that its available at Whole Foods across the USA now. Since I am on a diet, I tried the 0% and the 2% versions this summer and found that it works amazingly well. Also the Savalas (that's right, "Who Loves Ya Baby?") family recipe uses lemon juice with a splash of vinegar.
As far as what to put in on, EVERYTHING!
Very creative imagination!!!This is the very Turkish dish "cacik".And "tsatziki" is the imitation version of pronouncing "cacik":)
Nevertheless it's a very good alternative of salads.U can serve it with every kind of meat meals and rice.
This is spectacular!! I went to Whole Foods and got the real Greek Style Yogurt, instead of 'draining' regular yogurt as I'd done before...
OH MY GOSH!!
What a difference!! This is amazing, I cannot wait for my Greek Feast tonight! (Roasted Veggies with Feta and Olive Oil, Greek Salad with Oil-Cured Olives, Lamb and Beef Meatballs, and Grilled Flatbread... All with Tsatsiki, of course!!)
Thank you SOOO Much!!!
A word to the wise for those who are making tzatziki, and something I discovered through trial and error.
Beware the gelatin!
When you're hunting a yogurt brand, and are planning on draining it to make yocheese, check the ingredients and be sure the brand of yogurt you buy doesn't have gelatin in it. The gelatin is added to keep the yogurt from seperating and to act as a thickening agent. Unfortunately that first part keeps you from being able to seperate it deliberately!
Something to watch for.
if you have dietary restrictions (i.e. no fat!) and would like to strain non-fat yogurt, another suggestion for straining yogurt is to put a large paper coffee filter over a mesh strainer, set the strainer over a bowl (to catch all the water), dump the yogurt into the filter/strainer, then wrap the top of the bowl and strainer with plastic (to prevent refrigerator odors from being absorbed) and leave it overnight.
don't worry if you forget, as i have done many times, about the yogurt. if it gets too thick - i've left the thing for over a weekand the yogurt was the consistency of cream cheese - it just means that you don't have to squeeze the cucumber because you need to incorporate some liquid back into the yogurt.
in an improvised situation i substituted cucumber for a winter melon.
Thanks for the recipe! I love the tzatziki that I buy from the local farmer's market, and so I wanted to find a recipe to try to duplicate the great taste. This seem just about right. I'll be sure to give it a try - thanks for the easy to understand recipe!!
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!
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]
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!
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.
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. http://virtuallyamy.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/yogurt-yogurt-cheese-greek-style...ow/
Again thank you for this recipe. I was looking everywhere for a good one. :)
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.