What is tzatziki, and how is it used in Greek cuisine?

What is Tzatziki?

Tzatziki is a popular Greek dip or sauce that is made from strained yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs such as dill or mint. This creamy and tangy sauce is a staple of Greek cuisine and is often served as an accompaniment to various dishes, including grilled meats, vegetables, and pita bread. Tzatziki is known for its refreshing taste and is a perfect addition to any Greek meal.

Ingredients and Preparation

To prepare tzatziki, the first step is to strain the yogurt, which removes any excess water and makes the sauce thicker. The cucumber is then grated and salted, which helps to draw out any excess moisture. Once the cucumber is drained, it is added to the yogurt along with minced garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs. The mixture is then stirred well and chilled in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld together. Before serving, tzatziki is typically drizzled with olive oil and garnished with fresh herbs.

Traditional Uses in Greek Cuisine

One of the most common uses of tzatziki in Greek cuisine is as a dip for pita bread or vegetables. It is often served as part of a meze, which is a selection of small dishes that are shared at the beginning of a meal. Tzatziki is also a popular condiment for grilled meats, including souvlaki and gyros. Its cool and creamy taste provides a refreshing contrast to the rich and savory flavors of the meat. Additionally, tzatziki is used as a topping for baked potatoes and as a spread for sandwiches and wraps. Its versatility makes it a staple of Greek cuisine that is enjoyed by people all over the world.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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