Tzatziki (or Tsatsiki/Tsadziki depending upon your transliteration) is a yoghurt based greek sauce that has very similar analogues in other Balkan area cuisines. At its best (at least imo) it is creamy, pungent with garlic but with a smoothness from the yoghurt/cucumber that mellows everything. It's often used as a primary sauce with Souvlaki, Gyros and various bastardized Kebab recipes.
To be at its best this requires you to make it at least the day before planning to use it and to start prep then walk away for a few hours. Keep this in mind.
These are all pretty rough, basically mix to your favorite consistency/flavour
- 1 (preferably english) Cucumber
- 2-3 Cups of plain (not vanilla) yoghurt
- Garlic to taste (minimum 4 cloves)
- 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
- Kosher Salt
- good olive oil
- Fresh Mint (optional, I sometimes use the stuff in the tub in the dead of winter *Shame*)
- Start by lining a mesh strainer or collander with cheesecloth (or if you must, paper towel) then plop all your yoghurt inside. Let drain for a few hours.
- Peel and de-seed your cuke (the seeds are what makes cucumber a massive gas producer for a lot of people.) Often the easiest way to do this is to peel then slice lengthwise, carving out the middle of each strip to get rid of the seeds. Mince the remaining cucumber flesh.
- Using another strainer/collander line it again (basket coffee filters actually work reasonably well too) then mix your minced cuke with a bit of salt and let it drain. Don't go overboard on the salt but you do want to drain some of the moisture out of the cucumber or your sauce will be runny instead of the spreadable creamy goodness it should be. Toss the cuke a few times while the yoghurt is draining, if need be you can squeeze it but I usually find this to be overboard.
- Come back a while later to finish the sauce.
- Mince up garlic to taste, I'd say 3-4 cloves are minimum... I usually do something more like 7.
- Toss the garlic and cucumber into the now much thicker yoghurt and stir
- Add the vinegar and around a tablespoon of Olive oil, but this may depend on the consistency of your yoghurt
- Taste, add another pinch of salt or more garlic if needed, mix in mint if desired.
- Note: I prefer my cucumber reasonably chunky in this, prepare yours as you'd prefer to eat it.
- Serve with Souvlaki, Gyros
- With Pita Chips or Fresh Cut Veggies as a dip.
- I sometimes also marinate a few butterflied chicken breasts or a pork tenderloin in lemon and basil/oregano. Mix a bit of Tzatziki with some cream cheese or feta and stuff the meat with it, then serve the end product with the basic sauce as a baked greek treat. Works super well with Greek Roasted Lemon Potatoes