During the warm summer months I almost automatically switch to Mediterranean cuisine. Climate warming also helps, of course. Because it is so warm, our body uses much less energy to maintain our body temperature. But on the other side, we sweat a lot more to cool down. This simple, refreshing Greek tzatziki is therefore perfect for a warm summer: low in calories but high in moisture and vitamins.
About simple refreshing Greek tzatziki
Below you will find interesting tips to adapt this simple refreshing Greek tzatziki to your taste.
Chopping or grating?
For tzatziki you can finely chop or grate the cucumber. I always grate them coarsely nowadays. That goes much faster and I usually don't have the patience (and the cutting skills) to chop the cucumber really fine. An advantage of cutting is that you naturally have more bite. You can of course also combine the two methods. I like to add a few finely chopped pieces from the last end at the end.
Vinegar, wine or lemon juice?
I like to use white wine vinegar for this tzatziki. But you can of course also use other vinegar and create other flavors. Not a fan of vinegar? You can also use lemon juice or lime juice. I do that every now and then, depending on what's available in my kitchen. It becomes even more exciting if you decide to mix a little bit of white wine with it.
(Greek) yogurt and/or cream?
Since this is a Greek recipe, the best option is of course to use Greek yogurt. It is very thick, and therefore very suitable for this tzatziki. But you can also make this dish perfectly with classic yogurt. Then let it drain in a towel, so that the consistency also thickens.
In some recipes, sour cream is also mixed in. This makes the tzatziki a bit creamier and softer in taste. Anyway, I haven't tried this variant yet.
What to do with the leftover cucumber juice?
You don't throw away the juice of the squeezed grated cucumber! I probably don't have to explain you that this is super healthy. It is healthy, good for the skin and has a blood pressure lowering effect. The following articles contain more information on cucumber juice:
- cucumber juice (willamettetransplant.com)
- How to Make Cucumber Juice (3 Methods) (alphafoodie.com)
- cucumber juice FAQ (Medical Medium)
- Top 10 cucumber juice recipes (healthyrecipes101.com)
- 12 amazing cucumber juice benefits for your skin, hair and overall health (food.ndtv.com)
Traditionally, tzatziki is seasoned with fresh mint and dill. Of course they give a lot of flavor to the tzatziki. Alternatively, you can also try with chives, flat-leaf parsley or cilantro to obtain a different taste.
The garlic is definitely part of it for me. But here you have to be careful with it. Raw garlic tastes very intense, and also lingers for a long time. A big clove of garlic can be more than enough. If you have small cloves, feel free to use two. You may increase or decrease the amount of garlic depending on the people you meet afterwards. If you understand what I mean.
I don't add any more salt because I've already salted the grated garlic. But I don't use that much salt anyway. If it is a bit bland to your taste, you can also add some extra salt.
I usually use pepper with everything. But in this case I left it anyway. I want the real Mediterranean flavors to dominate.
Tzatziki is known to us as a typical Greek side dish. Historically, similar mezzes have been widely eaten from the Balkans over Greece and Turkey to the Persian Arab countries. Think of Hummus, for example, and you'll see the resemblance. By the way, you can describe a mezze as the Arabic version of tapas.
The Turkish variant of tzatziki is also called cacik. Quite similar, did you notice? In Turkey, people don't just eat it as a side dish, but also as a soup. To make a soup out of it the yogurt is diluted with water.
Also in Cyprus it is well known under the name talatouri. You can find a Cypriotic version on MyGreekdish.com.
In the Balkans, people have “tarator” often as a cold soup. Typical for that region is that also walnuts are also used.
It is also served as mezze in Iraq. That's where you get it when you order “jajeek”.
Even in India there is a variant: raita. It serves often as a side for spicy meals. Yogurt is the best to cool down your mouth after or during a spicy dinner.
What can you eat tzatziki with?
Tzatziki is nice, fresh and healthy. It is a typical mezze (a kind of tapas) that we also know from the Arab countries. That is why you can also serve it as a dipping sauce with your aperitif, just like hummus. This is also refreshing as a light meal with a piece of bread. But also at the BBQ, with a well grilled piece of meat, tzatziki tastes delicious. A Greek pita, bifteki or souvlaki are of course not complete without this white side dish.
Tzatziki is a typical Greek dish. Since I like to cook Mediterranean, many Greek recipes also find their way to surprising.recipes. Here are some examples:
- Greek style stuffed zucchini
- easy vegetarian Greek pasta salad
- Greek tuna fish starter
- Vegetarian Orzo soup
- stuffed eggplant with minced poultry
If you speak Dutch, you can find the Dutch version of this recipe on gerechtenweb.blog.