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Tzatziki (τζατζίκι; also transcribed jajiki) is a Greek and Turkish meze, or appetizer, also used as a sauce or dip. The Greek word is derived from the Turkish cacık, which means a form of chutney. It is made of yoghurt (which in Greece and Turkey is usually made of sheep or goat milk), cucumbers (either pureed and strained or seeded and finely diced), onion, and garlic for taste—in Greece this can be as much as a whole head of garlic for a large bowlful of tzatziki. It is usually seasoned with olive oil and diverse herbs including dill or mint, and usually a spoonful of vinegar is added. It is often served with pita bread as the first course of a meal, with black olives on top or served separately. It is one of the standard components of the Turkish kebab or Greek Souvlaki and gyros.

Tzatziki (*)

Similar dishes in Iraq are known as djadjik.

To prepare the dish, thoroughly mix skinned and diced cucumber, diced dill and plain yogurt. One may add salt and mint, according to taste. A variation in the Caucasus mountains, called ovdukh, uses kefir instead of the plain yogurt, thus creating a refreshing summer drink. This can be poured over a mixture of vegetables, eggs and ham to create a variation of okroshka, sometimes referred to as a 'Caucasus Okroshka'.

acık may also be compared with raita in India, all are served as a refreshing appetizer alongside with other dishes.

The Sephardic Jewish name for this sauce, at least in Greece, is Tarator.

Simple recipe for tzatziki


1 ½ cup of Greek yoghurt (strained); 2 medium-sized cucumbers; 4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed; olive oil; a little vinegar; salt

Skin the cucumbers and cut into thin strips with a vegetables grater; and then cut into small pieces. Drain and squeeze well and then salt. Add the crushed garlic, the vinegar, the yogurt and mix, finally adding the oil (a little oil at a time) and mixing. If you wish, you can garnish with olives. For a more garlicky tase, add more garlic.

Please note the following instructions are not typical for Greek yogurt

  • You can sprinkle the tzatziki with paprika.
  • You can, if you wish, add a mixture of finely chopped almonds and other nuts.
  • Can also be made with a sour cream base.


1½ cups yogurt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dill (sub. ¼ tablespoon of tarragon if no dill available)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice (optional, usually not used)
2 small cucumbers, diced
Salt, to dry cucumber
white pepper, to taste (optional, usually not used)
salt, to taste


Drain yogurt in a sieve or a cheesecloth for about 3 hours prior to using it, along with draining the Cucumber and salting it to further remove moisture.
Combine yogurt, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice in a bowl and cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.
After refrigerating, add dill and cucumber into bowl and mix with a whip until smooth.
Add pepper and salt to taste.

Great over gyros, pitas, salads, lamb, as a dip, or for anything you'd like a cool, but tasty sauce on.

Vefa Alexiadou , Greek Cuisine , ISBN 9608501865
Vefa Alexiadou , Festive Cuisine: 200 Recipes, to Prepare 19 Festive Menus , ISBN 9609013708
Vefa Alexiadou , Greek Pastries and Desserts , ISBN 9608501873

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