This Tzatziki Sauce recipe is probably easier to make than you think, and definitely tastier than what you buy at the supermarket! Don't waste your money at the store when homemade always tastes better.
My friend Katerina, who is from Greece, swears by this simple Tzatziki recipe. She introduced us to Toasted Turkish Bread with Feta and Olives recipe, a family favorite now! Katerina is my 'Greek food' authority, and her Tzatziki is amazing.
What's Tzatziki Sauce?
Tzatziki pronounced sat-see-kee, is a Greek sauce or dip. It's usually served with Greek food such as grilled meats or as an appetizer (Meze) with Greek Pita bread. If you're enjoying it as a Meze, then it's traditionally served with Ouzo, an anise flavored liqueur. Tzatziki Sauce is made with a strained Greek Yogurt. The strained part just means that after straining, it's a thicker yogurt compared to regular yogurts. You can buy pre-strained Greek yogurts. It's mixed with grated cucumber, garlic, salt, olive oil, vinegar and fresh herbs like dill.
The Turkish people also have a similar dish called Cacik. Without getting into food politics, there are some common threads from the Greek and Turkish recipes. Versions of Tzatziki also are in Turkey, the Balkans and in the Middle East.
Why is my Tzatziki Sauce watery?
Nobody likes a watery sauce. Not only does it not look appealing, but tastes different too. When preparing the grated cucumber, make sure you remove as much liquid as possible to prevent the Tzatziki going soggy. Cucumbers are made of of mostly water, about 96%. The liquids won't release right away into your sauce, but if you have any leftovers (or make in advance) it will be watery. In Greece they take watery Tzatziki very seriously. Some people hang the grated cucumber in cheesecloth overnight allowing the juices to drip out. That's dedicated to cucumbers! I'm always in a hurry and just use my hands to squeeze out the cucumber juices from the grated pulp.
With all recipes, your tastebuds should determine your specific tastes. Do you like more garlic? Then add another clove, it's going to be ok. Some people are scared to deviate from recipes. My suggestion is to taste, and adjust as required.
Lemon Juice or Vinegar?
Greeks usually use white or red wine vinegar when making Tzatzki sauce. The addition of lemon juice instead of vinegar, is a recent American addition. My suggestion is to make this recipe authentic style, like the Greeks have been doing for thousands of years. I'm clearly in the vinegar camp. However, I won't judge if you have a few spare lemons, but it don't alter the taste of the recipe.
So enjoy this Easy Tzatziki Sauce recipe. It is quicker to make this at home than driving to the store to buy some. It's also authentic and delicious. Greeks never joke when it comes to food, they've had thousands of years to perfect their recipes. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Tzatziki Sauce Recipe
- ½ Long English Cucumber
- 2 cups of plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill finely chopped
- Grate the cucumber. Using your hand, squeeze all the juices out.
- In a bowl, combine squeezed grated cucumber with the Greek Yogurt, minced garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and dill.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours for flavors to meld together. Enjoy.