Tzatziki refers to healthy Greek appetizer, sauce, or dip which is typically made up of yogurt. The sauce or dip is also known by other names like tsatsiki and tzadziki. This Greek sauce is served cold in the form of accompaniment in Turkey and Greece. However, in various other countries, Tzatziki is served as one of the parts of first course meal with pita bread or bread loaf. Strained yogurt prepared by goat’s or sheep’s milk is usually used in Tzatziki recipe.
Tzatziki is a creamy and cool yogurt based dish with flavors of garlic, which acts as a perfect accompaniment to various vegetables and grilled meats. Also, the dish is served along with triangular shaped pita bread as a side dish. It is considered to be authentic Greek sauce used as topping for gyros (meat based dish). Also, Tzatziki acts a scrumptious and appetizing dip for pita chips, veggies etc.
Tzatziki Recipe - Ingredients
Cucumber, salt, pepper, garlic, vinegar, olive oil and yogurt are used in the preparation of Tzatziki. Other ingredients like lemon juice, dill, mint and parsley are also used at times in the preparation method. Normally, goat or sheep based yogurt is used in preparing the sauce as it has thick texture. However, if it is not available, there is no harm in using normal yogurt. Also, the cucumbers used should not have much water content. Greek cucumbers are not much watery. However, if such cucumbers are not available, then normal cucumber can be used in preparing Tzatziki, making sure to squeeze out the liquids.
Tzatziki Recipe – Preparation
Preparing Tzatziki is quite easy. Vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic are combined together; yogurt is blended; olive oil mix is added to properly blended yogurt, chopped pieces of cucumber are added to the mix. Dill, mint or parsley can be added if required. All the ingredients are stirred well, refrigerated and served chilled along with other dishes.
Tzatziki can be used as a sauce used for topping meat dishes, and mix of vegetables and eggs.
It can be used as a dip for breads.
Also, the dish can be used as a healthy appetizer.
It is also served as side dish along with other dishes, like vegetables and grilled meats.
Tzatziki Recipe – Variations
Several variations of Tzatziki sauce exist in terms of difference in ingredients used, varying names in different regions, and its uses.
In Serbia and Bulgaria, Tzatziki is called as "Snezhanka" salad implying “snow white salad”, where strained yogurt is mixed with garlic, cucumber, salt, vegetable, oil, and minced walnuts, and is normally served in the form of appetizer.
In Iran, Tzatziki is a mix of cucumber, yogurt, dill and garlic, garnished with chopped nuts, and is known by the name mast-o-khiar. At times shallots are also added in Iranian bases Tzatziki recipe, which is called by the name mast-o-moussir.
In Caucasus Mountains, Tzatziki is known as ovdukh, which does not make use of yogurt in its preparation, and uses kefir in place of it. This dish is a popular summer drink in this region and is also sometimes poured over a mix of eggs, ham and vegetables.
In Cyprus region, Tzatziki is called by the name “talattouri”, and include more of herb mint and less of garlic in the preparation method as against the Greek recipe.
In Turkey, the popular Greek sauce is somewhat similar to Cacik, where it is normally served in the form of accompaniment with meat. Also, here it is though of as salad or soup. Cucumber, goat based yogurt, garlic, salt and crushed mint are the ingredients used in this Tzatziki recipe popular as Cacik in Turkey.
In India, pachadi and raita are the popular variations of Tzatziki, which is usually served as appetizer with various the dishes. Chopped fresh coriander leaves, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes and roasted and powdered cumin seeds are the common additions to Indian Tzatziki recipe.
In Iraq, the Greek sauce is known by the name “jajeek” and is served in the form of meze along with alcoholic drinks. In most of the cases, it is served with Ouzo like drink known as Arak, which is prepared with dates.
The name of the Greek sauce “Tzatziki” has been derived from Turlisk dish “cacik”, which is quite similar to the Greek sauce.