Tzatziki is one of the most well known and most mispronounced Greek foods. In this country, it most often appears as the sauce in a gyro, but in Greece, it is a common appetizer served either which rustic white bread or warm pita bread. Before I show you how to make this lovely yogurt-based dip, I’m going to teach you how to say it. While we’re at it, I’ll teach you how to say gyro too.
Americans can most easily pronounce “tzatziki” if they drop the “t”s. So, if you can say “zah-zee-ki” (with the emphasis on the middle syllable), you’ll do just fine in Greece.
Gyro is pronounced “yee-row” with as little a southern accent as you can manage. Please, whatever you do, promise me that you’ll never say “jai-row” again. It’s more than this Greek girl can take.
Ok, enough about that – let’s eat! Wait, first we have to make it.
Our ingredients are simple: 1 container Greek-style plain yogurt, 2 cloves garlic, 1 cucumber (a seedless European one if you can find it) 1 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. dried dill weed, 1 tsp. salt, pepper to taste.
**If you have just regular, non-Greek style yogurt, line a mesh strainer with coffee filters and position it over a bowl (the bowl should be small enough that the strainer doesn’t touch the bottom). Now add in your yogurt, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, you’ll see a pool of excess liquid in the bottom of the bowl. My mom always does it this way. The only brand that this won’t work with is Dannon because of the gelatin they add to their product.
First, grate your cucumber in a bowl. (if this was a seedless cucumber, there, uh, wouldn’t be seeds. I see that I probably didn’t have to point that at to you. My apologies.)
If you look above, you’ll see lots of excess liquids in our grated cucumber. If you’re the fancy type, go into your huge butler pantry, grab your cheese cloth and squeeze out the excess liquids. If you’re like me, take it over to the sink and just squeeze it out with your hands. Then, put it back into your bowl.
Much better. Now, add in your two cloves of garlic. You can either mince it or use a garlic press.
Now, just add in your yogurt and the rest of your ingredients all at once…
…and mix it all together. I’ll tell you a secret, I put most of the tzatziki back in the original yogurt container to store it. It lets me reuse the container and it reminds me that I have some yummy tzatziki still in there left to eat – tupperware tends to not get our notice.
I generally eat tzatziki the Greek way by just grabbing a chunk of a baguette and digging in or by warming up some pitas, quartering them and adding a dollop of tzatziki to each piece.