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Monday, September 19, 2011

Tzatziki - Cucumber Dip

A starter is a great place to start and Tzatziki, for me is synonymous with Greek food .  I love pronouncing the foods the way they would in their land of origin and Tzatziki sounds so undoubtedly Greek, especially when you emphasise the "I".  Now being a foodie type, I am very reluctant these days to buy dips from the supermarket.  Delicatessens at markets are sometimes likely to get my business for dips – although I would much rather purchase cured meats and cheeses from them since I do not make these at home.  When it comes to Tzatziki there is definitely no two ways about it: home-made all the way.  This dip infused with cucumber is best made in advance so that the delicate flavour of the cucumber becomes more pronounced alongside the powerful garlic.  For this recipe I use a combination of garlic three ways – Roasted, Fresh and Powdered.  Each type provides a different element to the dish and enormous flavour to boot.


1 x Cucumber, medium sized, grated with the skin on
1 cup x Greek Yoghurt (what else!)
8 cloves x Garlic, 4 roasted, 4 crushed to a paste
1 tsp x Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp x Lemon juice
1 tbsp, Dried Mint
Pinch of salt

To roast the garlic I recommend roasting a whole head of peeled garlic in a small ramekin covered in Olive Oil for about 30-45 minutes in a low oven.  The roasting takes away the sharpness and replaces it with a mellow taste.  You can use the flavoured oil in other cooking and the extra cloves have a number of uses where garlic is called for.  
Mash up the roasted garlic cloves and add it with all the ingredients to the yoghurt and stir to combine.  You can use a blender if you wish to have a more smoother dip, but I think the flecks of cucumber and mint make this dip ever better.  Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if required and place into a serving bowl and chill for a few hours before serving.  Serve with some crispy pita bread fresh out of the oven. 

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