Je Mange. Donc, Je Suis.

Saturday 13 July 2013

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing (Tzatziki)
Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil and sometimes lemon juice and dill or mint or parsley. Tzatziki is always served cold. While in Greece and Turkey, the dish is usually served as an accompaniment, in other places Tzatziki is often served with bread (loaf or pita) as part of the first course of a meal.
My Tzatziki, served in 
a baby-sized granite mortar
,made in Thailand!:)
I remember when I was first introduced to “Tzatziki”: it was Sausages-BBQ evening by the Lake in Germany. The second time, a Turkish classmate made it, especially for my farewell party, twelve years ago. I then asked for her delicious recipe as I really loved the taste! I also learned from her that “Cacik”, or yogurt dip, Turkish style, is similar to the Tzatziki, in Greece. However, there is a slight difference: Tzatziki is usually made of thick yogurt, from sheep milk, with rich & creamy taste, whereas her Turkish Cacik was much thinner with diluted yogurt from goat milk, mixed with a few drops of olive oil, garlic, salt, lemon juice, alternatively seasoned with dill (and/or mint), and sprinkled with ground paprika. It can be eaten with kebabs or alone.
I love both Tzatziki and Cacik! I love their refreshing ingredients of mint/dill and yogurt, well married with fresh veggies and variety of grilled sausages, to be ideally served during summertime picnic and BBQ. I feel as if, I time-traveled back and forth in Ottoman Empire and Mount Olympus, eye-rolling while listening to Plato’s speech, with Turkish delight in my mouth, fancying Turkish Belly Dance at the same time!!! ;)
Cucumber Salad, Greek Style
from my Turkish friend as well as Collette Rossant’s,
“Return to Paris, a memoir with Recipes”
adjusted to my terribly fussy Thai tongue! ;)
One of my treasures, 
in the kitchen! :)
  • 1-2 oriental cucumber(s), oriental cucumber is long and narrow with very few seeds;
  • 1 cup or 200 ml Plain yogurt (I use 0% fat, plain yogurt);
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil or walnut oil or grape-seed oil;
  • 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice;
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I love garlic, so 3 cloves for meJ);
  • *1 teaspoon red onion minced and finely chopped (*optional) note: red onion is smaller than shallot;
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped;
  • Salt & pepper
  • Ground paprika or cayenne pepper or chili powder or curry powder (optional) Anne’s note: I also like the taste with a tiny pinch of curry powder in it!
Peel and thinly slice the cucumber(s). In a bowl, beat 1 cup of yogurt, add garlic and red onion, lime juice, oil and chopped mint. Add salt, pepper and ground paprika to taste. Pour the yogurt dressing over the cucumber and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve 2.
One of my favourite films (2003) with
a touch of Greek and Turkish
Love it!

"A Touch of Spice" is a story about a young Greek boy (Fanis) growing up in Istanbul, whose grandfather, a culinary philosopher and mentor, teaches him that both food and life require a little salt to give them flavour. 
Fanis grows up to become an excellent cook and uses his cooking skills to spice up the lives of those around him. 35 years later he leaves Athens and travels back to his birthplace of Istanbul to reunite with his grandfather and his first love; he travels back only to realize that he forgot to put a little bit of spice in his own life.


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