|Type||Dip or soup|
|Course||Appetizer, Side dish, Meze|
|Place of origin||Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey|
|Region or state||Anatolia, Balkans, Caucasus|
|Main ingredients||Strained yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, salt, sometimes lemon juice, dill, mint, or parsley|
|Variations||With strained or diluted yoghurt and other herbs and vegetables|
|Cookbook: Tzatziki Media: Tzatziki|
Tzatziki (English pronunciation: //, //, or //; Greek: τζατζίκι [dzaˈdzici] or [dʒaˈdʒici]; Turkish: cacık) is a sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip. Tzatziki is made of salted strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) or diluted yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and some herbs like dill, mint, parsley, thyme etc. It is always served cold.
The root cac is likely related to several words in Western Asian languages. Persian zhazh (ژاژ) refers to various herbs used for cooking. Evliya Çelebi's 17th-century Seyâhatnâme travelogue defined cacıχ (cacıg) as a kind of herb. Ahmet Vefik Pasha's 1876 Ottoman Turkish dictionary defined cacık as an herb salad with yogurt. This remains the most common definition today.
There are dishes similar to cacık called tarator in many Balkan countries.
In Bulgaria and Serbia, the same dish is known as "dry tarator" (Bulgarian: сух таратор, Macedonian: сув таратур, Serbian: сув таратор), or as "Snezhanka" salad (салата "Снежанка"), which means "snow white salad", and is served as an appetizer. During preparation, the yoghurt (Bulgarian: кисело мляко, Macedonian: кисело млеко, Serbian: кисело млеко) is hung for several hours in a kerchief and loses about half of its water (drained yogurt, Bulgarian: цедено кисело мляко and Serbian: цеђено кисело млеко. The cucumbers, garlic, minced walnuts, salt and vegetable oil are then added.
In Bulgaria, tarator is a popular meze (appetizer) but also served as a side dish along with Shopska salad with most meals. Sunflower and olive oil are more commonly used and walnut is sometimes omitted. Tarator is seasoned with garlic and dill both of which can be omitted if so desired. Tarator is a popular dish in Bulgaria. A salad version of tarator is known as "Snowwhite salad" (Bulgarian: салата Снежанка- "salata Snezhanka" or "Snejanka" ), also called Dry Tarator. It is made of thick (strained) yogurt, without water. It can be served as an appetizer or as a side to the main meal. It is a common refresher during the summer.
In Albania Tarator is a very popular dish in summer time. It is usually served cold and is normally made from yoghurt, garlic, parsley, cucumber, salt and olive oil. Fried squids are usually offered with Tarator.
Greek-style tzatziki sauce is served with grilled meats or may be served as a mezze alongside other mezzes, dishes and ouzo. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon juice, and dill or mint or parsley.
A similar dish is made in Iran, called mast-o-khiar literally meaning yogurt with cucumber. It is made using a thicker yogurt, which is mixed with sliced cucumber, and mint or dill (sometimes chopped nuts and raisins are also added as a garnish).
Turkish cacık is made of yoghurt, salt, olive oil, crushed garlic, chopped cucumber, mint. Among these ingredients, vinegar (mostly white grape or apple), lemon juice, and sumac are optional. Dill and thyme (fresh or dried) and sumac and paprika may be used alternately.
Mostly, cacik is served to accompany main dishes. As a side dish, it is diluted with water, which results in a soup-like consistency. If consumed as a meze, it is prepared undiluted but follows the same recipe. Often, dill and thyme are added as well. Ground paprika may also be added if it is prepared as a meze and to be served with some grilled meat, other mezes or rakı (a Turkish spirit similar to Greek ouzo). More rarely, it is prepared with lettuce or carrots instead of cucumber under the name of kış cacığı (winter cacık) or havuç tarator.
Haydari is a dish of the cacik type, consisting of certain herbs and spices, combined with garlic and yoghurt. It differs from cacık in that the recipe contains no cucumber and calls for strained yoghurt or labne. It is served purely as a meze,being more pungently appetising - by virtue of being saltier, more acidic and of a thicker consistency - than cacık.
Variants with purslane
In Turkish and Greek cuisine, purslane salad is very common and since such salad is made with yoghurt and cooked or uncooked purslane and thus may also be called cacık.
Variants with carrots and other vegetables
A variation in the Caucasus mountains, called ovdukh, uses kefir instead of the yogurt. 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'. Mizeria is another variation from Poland, using the same ingredients but substituting sour cream for yogurt.
In South Asia a similar dish is made with yoghurt, cucumber, salt and ground cumin (sometimes also including onions) called raita.
- List of dips
- List of hors d'oeuvre
- List of yogurt-based dishes and beverages
- List of dairy products
- Milk salad
- Cold borscht
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- Classic Greek Tzatziki Sauce
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