August 28, 2017
The first time I made my own tzatziki, I had just made my first batch of homemade yogurt from scratch. It was on the more liquid side and tasted very plain, so I knew it would be better to cook with than to eat on its own. To thicken my own yogurt, I let it sit in cheesecloth for a few hours over a large bowl – you can do this with any thin yogurt to make Greek style yogurt or Labneh.
If you’re not feeling so ambitious, this easy dipping sauce can be made using store-bought Greek yogurt, like Chobani (which has a more sour taste) or Fage (which is a little sweeter). It’s great with pita and grilled chicken and vegetables. When we can, we serve it with pita from Axia Taverna (their tzatziki and pita appetizer were the inspiration for this recipe). The Israeli pita from Emmanu-el Delicatessen – a much thicker, breadier style, pictured here in the background – is very good as well.
1 17 oz greek yogurt container (i.e. Fage total)
½ tsp lemon zest
3 cloves garlic
2 medium English cucumbers
4-5 tbsp dill
salt and pepper
1. Peel and grate the two cucumbers over a kitchen towel. Salt and let sit for 10-15 min.
2. White cucumber sits, peel and crush 3 cloves of garlic (left whole) and set aside.
3. Zest part of a lemon (1/2 tsp worth) and set aside.
4. Strip the fronds of a bunch of fresh dill, chop roughly and set aside.
5. After 10-15 minutes, gather the towel into a ball and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Repeat several times until no more water leaks out. You may wish to further pat dry or leave sitting in a strainer to release as much liquid as possible.
6. In a bowl, combine yogurt, whole garlic cloves, lemon zest, cucumbers, dill and a good amount of pepper (No salt because the cucumbers were salted). Stir until well combined, then season to taste.