A friend of mine who tried my tzatziki for the first time once said, “Man, that is some good sh.. er stuff!” Use it as a dip for vegetables or pita chips, a spread for toasted French bread slices or pumpernickel chunks. And last but not remotely least, use it as a dipping sauce for souvlaki or to top a souvlaki pita. Definitely good sh.. er stuff.
Greek-style yoghurt is thicker and tangier than plain yoghurt and works best for this recipe. I can’t get it for a reasonable price where I live, so I use whole milk yoghurt instead. My mother would use goat’s milk yoghurt when she could get it.
If you are using the whole milk yoghurt, strain it through a linen towel (I’ve read that some people use coffee filters) set over a strainer for about 3-4 hours. This thickens it up nicely.
1 32 oz container of whole milk yoghurt
1 large cucumber
3 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped (more if you like)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped (1 tsp dry)
1 tbsp fresh Greek oregano (1 tsp dry)
½ tsp salt or to taste
Strain the yoghurt in a colander lined with a linen towel and set over a bowl for 3-4 hours (overnight is fine) in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.
Peel and seed the cucumbers. Grate them coarsely and then squeeze out the excess water using another linen towel.
Add the cucumbers and the remaining ingredients to the yoghurt, mix well and refrigerate at least a few hours or overnight to meld all of the flavors. I keep and reuse the original yoghurt container to mix and store my tzatziki.
Taste for seasoning both before and after the refrigeration period. Be careful with the garlic; the flavor of it tends to get stronger as it sits, and can become overpowering if you use too much. Use less than you think you should when you are making this for the first time.