In the US, tzatziki is associated with Greek food (most especially as a sauce served with gyros), but the name comes from the Turkish side dish called cacık which features the same ingredients but is diluted with water. Although you can find it commercially (we especially like Hannah’s version), it’s a fairly easy sauce to whip up on your own using ingredients you might already have in the fridge.
2 cups of greek or plain yogurt, strained
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
One of the most important steps in getting the right consistency is to strain the yogurt. To do so, spoon the yogurt into a colander that’s lined with a cheese cloth. Place a bowl under the colander and put it in the fridge for two hours. The extracted liquid (whey) can be used in all sorts of ways – drink it, add it to smoothies, use it to cook rice, or lacto-ferment some vegetables; either way, don’t throw it out!
Peel and cut the cucumber in half length-wise, and remove the seeds with a spoon.
Cut the cucumber into chunks and put it into a colander; sprinkle it with the kosher salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, put the cucumber pieces in a cheese cloth and squeeze out most of the remaining liquid.
In a blender, add all of the ingredients minus the yogurt and blend.
You don’t want to blend it too long, because you want a little chunkiness!
Mix it in with the yogurt and refrigerate for another 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors mix.