With the annual GreekFest upon us here in our hometown of Ottawa, we thought it would be the perfect time to make it “Greek Week” here at FMMS. We’ll be starting things off right with a delicious dip that will make your breath smell like Hades’ underworld – Tzatziki.
This is part of our Greek Week feature on FMMS. Click here to see the rest!
Growing up in a Greek household, I was exposed to a lot of healthy meals that I took for granted. As a kid, I didn’t appreciate that my parents were cooking my brothers and I food that is considered to be part of one of the healthiest diets in the world. And being the finicky eater that I was, I often snubbed my nose at some of this delicious cuisine.
But one thing I could never get enough of was my mom’s homemade Tzatziki dip. It was one of my favourite things that she would make and it still manages to make everyone’s mouths water when she prepares it for our holiday feasts. To this day, it doesn’t feel like Christmas unless the whole family reeks of Tzatziki breath.
Tzatziki is a Greek dip that consists primarily of yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. Like hummus, it’s extremely versatile. It goes well with either meat or vegetables and it’s very healthy – not to mention delicious!
2 large containers of plain yogurt (I like Astro Original)
1 large cucumber
2 cloves of garlic
3 ½ oz of extra virgin olive oil (I like Solon)
½ oz of red wine vinegar
Note: I use Astro Original yogurt because it’s the closest thing you can get to authentic Greek yogurt (at least where I live in Canada). Many yogurts in North America labelled “Greek” are not at all like Greek yogurt found in Greece. You can substitute it with other types of yogurt, but I find Astro to be the closest to the real deal. It has a neutral flavour that works well as a Tzatziki dip. Another great alternative is FAGE, although it’s not available to us Canadians just yet.
- Place a cheesecloth in a strainer and over a bowl;
- Empty the contents of the yogurt into the strainer and refrigerate for up to 24 hours to drain out the water (a couple of hours will suffice, if you don’t want to leave it overnight);
- Dump the yogurt into a new bowl the following day;
- Grate one large cucumber into a strainer to drain the water (you may have to squeeze some excess water out by hand) and add the contents in with the yogurt;
- Crush 2 cloves of garlic and add to the bowl;
- Add 1 tsp. of salt;
- Add about 3 ½ oz. of extra virgin olive oil and ½ oz. of red wine vinegar (feel free to add a bit more or less depending on your preferences);
- Mix everything together and place the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour and serve.
It’s best to refrigerate before serving to let all the flavours soak in – especially the garlic. The great thing about Tzatziki is that it tastes good on almost anything. Some of my favourite things to dip into it include: pita bread, veggies, lamb, and even pizza as a substitute for garlic dip. It’s also an excellent companion to a holiday turkey as an alternative to cranberry sauce. It’ll keep for about a week in the fridge.
Serve this alongside an authentic Horiatiki salad and you may begin to feel like a true Greek.
I can guarantee you’ll smell like one!