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Anyone have a good recipe for tzatziki?

I'm absolutely in love with the tzatziki I can get from my local Greek diner, but I'd rather not pay for the restaurant version every single time I get a hankering. I've tried a few recipes, but they always seem to be thinner and just not as satisfying. Does anyone have a good recipe for a nice thick and flavorful tzatziki?

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  1. I don't follow a recipe but to get it thick, I squeeze the cut cucumber in a cheesecloth well. I also drain the whole milk yogurt over a strainer lined w/ cheesecloth overnight. I haven't done it w/ greek yogurt but think that might be a good way to go, too. I taste as I go along, but keep in mind the garlic will get more pungent over time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      Those are the keys. If you are not using thick full Greek yogurt you should still use full fat regular yogurt. You will need to strain it as stated above. I don't think overnight is necessary, you can get it done in a few hours. I use shredded cucumber which I then salt and leave for a while to leach out some of the water. After this I squeeze as much liquid as I can out of them with a cheese cloth or paper towel.

      1. re: MVNYC

        bingo!

        i use stonyfield farm full fat yogurt, and strain with a coffee filter set in a mesh sieve. i let it drain for hours = super thick, like cream cheese. (this strained yogurt (cheese) is the base for "labneh" in lebanese cuisine).

        last time, i also added green onions to the tzatziki, in addition to the salted, squeezed cukes, pressed garlic, lemon juice and dill. man, that was addictive!

    2. I don't really follow a recipe either, but here's what I do loosely.

      Shred 1/2 english cuke, salt and place in a colander for 10-15 min to seep out the moisture, Grate or mince 1-2 cloves of garlic and let sit for 10 min in juice of 1/2 lemon and 1-2 tsp of white wine vinegar to soften the rawness. Mix together cukes, lemon-garlic mixture, and 1 cup of plain greek yogurt(full fat), salt and pepper to taste. I like to add some fresh dill as well if I have it.

      1. Recipe my MIL taught me when I was in Greece.
        1 pint thick greek yogurt. Supermarkets in USA call this yogurt spread, yogurt cheese or lebne.If you can;'t find, put 1 quart of plain yogurt in a strainer lined with cheese cloth over a bwol and let all liquid drain. Can do this overnight in refrigerator. Grat 1 med- large cucumber on large holes of a box grater. Squeeze all liquid out and add to the yogurt. Cruch in a garlic press 4-8 cloves of gralic, depending on how strong you want it. Add a few tbsp of good Greek evoo, salt and pepper. Stir well. Let sit for n hour or more.SAeve with crusty bread.

        1. Besides the traditional ingredients, I like to add some smoked paprika.

          1 Reply
          1. re: coll

            Forgot, I also like to use sesame oil for a little more flavor. Perhaps a little mint too, if on hand.

          2. In addition to the good advice above, if you are using standard American cucumbers, remove the seeds. Also, don't throw away the cucumber juice, as it has many delicious applications.

            1. I recently made and loved this recipe with Fage (Greek yogurt):
              http://greekfood.about.com/od/appetiz...

              Try it with a lamburger! Mmmmmm!

              1 Reply
              1. re: kattyeyes

                When I serve it with lamb, I also stir in a little tahini.

              2. Thanks everyone, I'll try some of your suggestions soon! Appreciate the tips!

                1. I tried to make some last week, but after leaving the yogurt to drain for 36 hours, I still only had about a tsp of liquid. Was it because I used lowfat yogurt? It was the only kind they had at the store. I went ahead and made it anyway but it wasn't very good

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: ChrisKC

                    Your yogurt probably contains thickeners and stabilizers, in which case the liquid cannot be drained off as it is bound to the mixture. Most commercially available American yogurt is far too artificial to drain.

                    1. re: ChrisKC

                      Is Greek yogurt (Fage, Chobani, e.g.) not available in your local supermarkets? The consistency is so different from regular yogurt. I would highly recommend trying again with Greek yogurt. You'll love it. :)

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        I think it's in some stores but the particular one I was in didn't have it. I will definitely try again with greek yogurt but everything I've read says you can use regular yogurt drained. Oh well, you live, you learn

                        1. re: ChrisKC

                          You can use regular yogurt drained but it needs to be full fat yogurt.

                          1. re: MVNYC

                            that's what I suspected after it didn't work

                            1. re: ChrisKC

                              I disagree about the use of non-fat yogurt. Although higher-fat yogurt tastes great, for health reasons we use non fat (the ingredients of which are "milk ingredients and bacterial culture" in my product here in Toronto) and it produces an excellent result.

                              After about an hour of straining over cheesecloth in a sieve, there is at least a half cup of liquid which has drained off it. At this point, the yogurt is quite 'creamy' in texture, if not in taste. The longer I leave it to drain, the thicker it becomes.

                            2. re: MVNYC

                              It also needs to not contain pectin, gelatin, or cornstarch, which are found in all the US brands with a large market share.

                              1. re: danieljdwyer

                                I agree that yogurt without additional thickeners tastes better it is not a prerequisite for making tzaziki. When I do not have the time to get fresh Greek or Albanian yogurt I usually use Stoneyfield farms. Theirs has pectin but still produces a good consistency when left to drain for a few hours. But like you said the real stuff is better.

                                1. re: MVNYC

                                  Pectin alone may not be enough to hold it together. Stoneyfield is also way more natural than your average American yogurt. Maybe the cornstarch is the key? I just know Dannon, Yoplait, Colombo, and the like won't drain.

                        1. This recipe is from the book "The Food of Greece" by my friend, Wilma Chantiles Liacouris.
                          2C. plain yogurt, drained, (or Fage greek yogurt already drained).
                          i medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
                          1 clove garlic,minced
                          2 or 3 t. e v o oil
                          1 T. white vinegar
                          1 T. finely chopped fresh dill
                          1 T. finely chopped fresh mint
                          pinch of salt

                          Combine all ingredients and chill to allow flavors to penetrate. Serve as a dip, or on lettuce leaves as a salad, or with fried zucchini, eggplant or fish.