Tzatziki is a delicious Greek sauce, made from strained yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon and dill.
Tzatziki can be used as a sauce for meats, a sandwich spread, an appetizer with warm pita or in a salad. There are many variations to tzatziki sauce, and what you end up using it for will determine how you should approach making it.
Strained yogurt is the base for tzatziki. You can strain your own right at home or purchase Greek yogurt, but make sure you buy plain yogurt and avoid any fat-free varieties because you'll need fat for flavor. To make tzatziki, you'll need:
For this basic recipe, you can add spices and some other ingredients to change the taste or adapt the recipe for uses as a sandwich topping, salad dressing or sauce. Here are some tasty variations to try out:
Although it is a Greek sauce, its origins are based in Turkey and Persia, so it's common to see tzatziki as an accompaniment to Middle Eastern cuisine as well. Add some of the following ingredients right to your standard recipe to make a great tzatziki for sandwiches:
Keep the same amount of dill, but add one cup each of the following fresh herbs:
If you are serving tzatziki with traditional Greek foods, such as gyros, add some of these ingredients to amp up the flavor:
Raita is a dish similar to tzatziki and essential to Indian cuisine. The ingredients are similar to regular tzatziki, and use the same amount of yogurt, cucumber, garlic and lemon, but this recipe substitutes cilantro for the dill and adds cumin, dried coriander seed and a dash of garam masala spice to taste. Trying serving this with warm naan bread instead of pita, or add it as a side dish to curries and rice.
You can add some heat and flavor to the standard tzatziki recipe, which can make the dish a fitting accompaniment for grilled meat or barbecue. Add your favorite hot sauce, diced pickled jalapenos or chopped fresh chilies.