Tzatziki is the ubiquitous Greek dip, sauce, topping to slather over everything — whatever you want to call it. After traveling to Greece last summer and experiencing the joy and deliciousness of tzatziki every single day for 9 days, I’ve been thinking lately I need more of it in my life in jolly old England.
This recipe is adapted from the cookbook, Flavours of Greece, by Rosemary Barron, and has been tweaked slightly by myself.
- 1 large cucumber, peeled
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 300ml/half pint strained yogurt (use Total Greek yogurt)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely grated (add another clove if you want more garlicky tzatziki)
- 4 tbsp fresh mint leaves or coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley or 2 tbsp dried mint, crushed
Using a food processor or a knife, slice the cucumber into julienne (matchstick pieces). Make sure they are short enough to be picked up by pita bread or whatever you are using to dip. Sprinkle with salt and set aside in a colander for about an hour to drain out all the water. This is necessary so the tzatziki doesn’t get too watery.
Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, white pepper and garlic in a bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Just before serving, beat the yogurt sauce with a wooden spoon until smooth. Tear the mint leaves into small pieces.
Dry the cucumber by gently squeezing it between paper towels — don’t worry if the cucumber bruises; it is more important to avoid a watery tzatziki.
Combine this with the yogurt mixture, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.