Unfortunately the delights of a genuine Greek Tzatziki have been tarnished by the mass-produced versions in the supermarkets. These insipid versions tend to be bland in taste, have a watery consistency, contain little crunchy cucumber and are often artificially thickened with cornflour.
But don't despair it is easy to make a superb, thick, tangy and creamy Tzatziki at home using the fabulous collection of recipes shown below.
There are many variations for you to try with differences in texture and taste. You will find a recipe below for just how you love your Tzatziki to be. Enjoy!
The heart and soul of a perfect tzatziki is the quality and texture of the Greek yogurt you use. Try to get extra thick yogurt made specially for tzatziki, or the thickest variety you can find. Low fat yogurt tends to be thin and watery. A good quality full-fat Greek yogurt only has about 10% fat and is definitely a better choice. Find the highest quality yogurt you can find.
The cucumber can be problematic because of its high water content. Also, large pieces tend to spoil the texture of the dish. There are two tricks for the cucumber:
► Scoop out and discard the watery middle of the cucumber with the seeds, or squeeze out the water after the cucumber has been cut.
► Leave the skin on for extra color if the skin is in good condition.
► Finely dice the cucumber, or grate it rather coarsely. You want some crunchiness and flavor to be retained without making the tzatziki too crunchy. Grating releases more liquid and so you need to squeeze out the extra liquid before adding it to the mixture.
The amounts you use are optional, but some garlic and onion is required for flavor. One tip is to marinate the garlic in olive oil for a day or so, to reduce the harshness and bitterness of its taste. The onions should be finely diced. Red onions have a milder taste, and you can use spring onions as well.
There are many options here and many differences of opinion. The common choices are fresh dill or mint. Dill has astringency that adds tang to the taste, whereas mint is cooling and smooths the taste.
Consider adding white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or a tablespoon of olive oil to smooth out the taste.
There are several steps to do before assembling the ingredients. To thicken the yogurt, place it in a sieve suspended above a bowl, set aside and let it drain for several hours. Crush the garlic, add it to the oil with a pinch of salt and set aside for the flavor to infuse into the oil. This also smooths and softens the taste of the garlic. Coarsely grate the cucumber, or finely chop it, into a colander. Sprinkle lightly with salt while mixing. Place the colander in the sink and allow to drain for 15-30 minutes. Then, squeeze the extra water out of the cucumber.
Assembly the dip by adding the garlic infused oil and vinegar into the yogurt. Add the cucumber and set aside until you are ready to serve it. Just before serving, season the tzatziki with salt and pepper, adding more oil or vinegar if needed. Then, sprinkle with finely chopped dill or mint and mix through.
Peel the cucumbers and dice very finely. Place them into a colander. Sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt, to draw the water out. Place a plate on top of the chopped colander, cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Drain well, squeeze to remove excess moisture and wipe dry in a bed of paper towels. Add the cucumbers, lemon juice, garlic, dill and/or mint to the yogurt. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving. This helps to blend the flavors. Serve with fresh herb leaves on top.
Either grate or finely chop the cucumber. Then, place in a cloth and squeeze firmly to remove excess moisture. Combine the lemon juice, yogurt,
cucumber, garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add the paprika powder and stir to distribute through the mixture.
Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to help the flavours to fully develop and combine well. Just before serving top with chopped mint leaves.
Blend the silken tofu using a blender or food processor, with lemon juice, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, until creamy. Then, add the chopped garlic and oil and pulse to combine well. Remove the Tzatziki to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Squeeze the grated or chopped cucumber between your hands and squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Then, add the cucumber and herbs to the blended tofu mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Serve topped with extra herb leaves.