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Greek Magic: Tzatziki Sauce
I love Mediterranean food. Adore it is more like it. Feta, olives, olive oil, and now tzatziki sauce among many other ingredients. Greek and Mediterranean food is light, yet flavorful and robust. In my opinion, there is no competition for the greatest food in the world.
I went to college in Boise, Idaho and fell in love with the most incredible Greek and Mediterranean Grill called Mazzah-- if you live in Boise you must go immediately! I promise you won't regret it. Unfortunately, I have moved back to Washington and have found it near impossible to find anything that even comes close to matching Mazzah's Beef Shawarma. Therefore, I have been forced to create my own and I must say I love it homemade just the same!
One of the most essential components of Mazzah's dishes is their Tzatziki sauce. I have absolutely no idea how they make it, but I know that it is unlike anything else I have tried. It has a fresh flavor with a creamy consistency that simply adds to whatever you eat it with. It was my goal to perfect this sauce and I believe I have done that here. Please try this recipe, even if you're not a fan of the ingredients (I don't like yogurt or cucumbers). I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised.
The first and most essential step of tzatziki sauce is preparing the cucumbers. Now, I used an English cucumber; however, a regular cucumber will do fine-- just make sure you scoop out the seeds. There are a couple options you have in regards to the cucumber. If you like texture you can peel it and dice it into small pieces. I prefer to shred mine so that it incorporates evenly into the sauce. If you do this you will discover that a ton of water will be released. You will want to make sure that you squeeze out all excess water.
Next, put your cucumber, garlic (LOTS!), chopped fresh dill, a little mint if you desire (I used about a half teaspoon of dried mint because it was what I had), olive oil, and freshly squeeze lemon juice for freshness.
It is critical that you use plain GREEK yogurt, you have the option to use fat-free if you wish (I did), but there is no other substitute for Greek yogurt. Traditionally, it is said that you should wrap your yogurt in a tea towel and let it drain into a bowl for a couple hours. I; however, was not patient enough and skipped this step. I simply put the yogurt in the bowl with the other ingredients.
Mix all the ingredients together. At this point I would try it and see what you think it needs. It should not taste overly lemon-y, yogurt-y, or cucumber-y. Although all of these are critical elements to tzatziki, they should not take over! It should taste fresh and take on a flavor of its own. However, it is you dish, make it your own by adding whatever you think it needs!
Tzatziki is pretty much delicious on anything and for you health conscious people-- have no fear-- this was made with fat free yogurt and fresh ingredients. Have as much as you wish! It's really good on any kind of meat, but I particularly love it on chicken and beef. I had leftover naan and steak one night so I made a Greek sandwich just like the one I love from Mazzah-- simply steak, tomatoes, tzatziki, and a dash of paprika. It was delicious, but nothing will ever to compare to what I can get in Boise. Until then, this will have to do and I will continue to seek perfection. I hope you find love in this sauce just like I did!
- 1 Cucumber, shredded or diced
- 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp. (or more) Fresh Dill, Chopped
- 1/2 Tsp. Mint
- 1 Tbsp. Garlic, Paste
- 1 Lemon Juice, Fresh
- 12 ounces Fat-free Greek Yogurt
- Peel, seed, and shred the cucumber. Drain it in a tea-towel to release all excess liquid.
- Combine cucumber, olive oil, dill, mint, garlic and lemon juice in bowl.
- Add Greek yogurt and mix together.
- Let chill and allow flavors to absorb.
- Enjoy with pitas, chicken, steak, or fresh vegetables.