Slowly but surely, I’m taking the cucumber plunge. You see, I’ve never been a big fan of them to begin with. A couple of years ago, I decided that I liked them in sandwiches…but only in sandwiches. Then this past summer, I tried them dipped into hummus. Uh, hello, it was yummy! Emboldened by this new found cuke-love, I decided that I would try my hand at tzatziki. You know, that Greek dip filled with cucumbers. See, when I get into something, I really dive in.
Initially, I was worried about texture. Slimy wasn’t what I was looking for. I was also determined to make it to my own tastes which meant a lot of garlic and lemon and spice to enhance the experience. I said enhance not mask in case you are taking note. So I got started and strained my own plain low fat yogurt using a coffee pot and paper coffee filters. I’ve done it before and it works really well. Or you can just go ahead and use Greek yogurt which is thick and rich and pretty much perfect. Then you grate and drain the cucumbers of their excess moisture. After that, all the hard part is done. A bit of lemon here, a bit of dill and garlic there. Add in some kosher salt and spice to balance everything out and there you go. A dip of champions. Please note, that the photos were taken on New Years eve and I had a few Amaretto Sours alongside, so things aren’t quite so photogenic – but don’t let that turn you off. This tzatziki is amazing and I’m not just saying that because me and the cucumber are bffs 4 ever.
the best tzatziki ever
500 g tub of Greek yogurt, or strain a 900 g tub of plain yogurt (discard the liquid)
1/2 large english cucumber, seeds removed
2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 of a red onion, finely minced
1 t kosher salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t paprika
1 T dried dill
juice & zest of 1 small lemon
1. If you are using regular yogurt, you’ll need to strain it through a coffee filter for about 2 hours to remove all the excess liquid as you want the yogurt to be nice and thick. If you are using Greek yogurt, no worries, you are good to go.
2. Grate the cucumber and place it in a mesh strainer and position the strainer above a bowl. Use a large spoon to press out all the water from the cucumber. Sprinkle a bit of salt over top the cucumber to let the water out quicker or just wait it out.
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, dill and spices together. Add in the thick yogurt and stir well. Next, stir in the cucumber and lemon zest. Add in the juice of half of the lemon, stir and taste. Want more tang? Add in more juice. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Now go and dip to your hearts content.