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Help! My tzatziki sucks!!

Just back from 3 weeks in Greece and had tzatziki at least once a day. Loved theirs. I can't get the same richness, sweetness and mouth feel that I had in Greece. I am using a 0% Skotidakis brand Greek Yogurt that is made in Eugene, Ontario and like it better than the available Liberte as it is richer in taste and thicker. I am almost 100% sure that I have to use a full fat Greek yogurt to get that great taste. I would prefer staying with a lower fat yogurt as we eat a lot of it. My question....would EVO, a tbsp. or 2, help to add the "fat dimension"? Or is there anything else to add for flavour other than the grated cucumber, garlic, dill/mint, and some lemon juice?

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  1. I use full fat yogurt and drain it in cheesecloth (or coffee filters) overnight. I think the fat makes a big difference and adding EVOO wouldn't be the same. How do you do your cucumbers? Do you seed, cut, salt and drain? Making sure to eliminate some of the liquid helps. And, salt is important.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      Yes, I seed, grate, salt and drain my cucumbers. And after draining for at least 30 min. squeeze out excess moisture. I think you are right....I need to use full fat yogurt. Thanks.

    2. My tzatziki has a lot more ingredients than yours. My Greek cousins never leave a bit, so I assume that it is pretty darn good. To be honest, I really dislike Greek yogurt, so I make my own thickened yogurt by draining 2 cups of either Stonyfield 0% or Brown Cow 0%. However, I assume that using about 1 3/4 cups of Greek Yogurt would make you happier.

      1 lb cucumbers
      1 teaspoon salt
      2 cups yogurt
      1/4 cup red-win vinegar [I buy a Greek one which is very light. If you don't, reduce a bit]
      1 tbl extra-virgin olive oil
      2 cloves garlic, put through a press or shredded on a microplane
      1/2 tsp sugar
      1/8 tsp white pepper
      1/4 cup sour cream
      2 tbl minced dill

      So, I start the day before [usually] by draining my yogurt. Then shred the cucumbe, toss with salt and let it drain in a colander.

      Stir the yogurt and cucumbers together. Stir in the vinegar, oil, garlic, sugar and pepper. Then stir in the sour cream [btw, I add this for company, omit for myself] and then the dill. Taste, adjust the salt, garlic and vinegar. Let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours, and serve.

      Enjoy!

      5 Replies
      1. re: smtucker

        Oh boy smtucker, your tzatziki sounds good. I am going to use your ingredients with my Greek yogurt and do a taste test with a good plain drained yogurt. I see you use a little sugar (I wonder if that might have helped). Thanks for your input.

        1. re: Deborah

          Sugar is essential. I tried making it without it, and my tzatziki really missed some depth.

          1. re: Isolda

            Isolda and Smtucker. You were right about the sugar. It made a vast difference in the taste of my tzatziki! I used the 0% Skotidakis Greek Yogurt and I decided to try the sugar before I added some other ingredients, such as sour cream, that were suggested. I didn't need anything more. Just the yogurt, cucumber, sugar, dill and a little acid. (I used a little Champagne vinegar but could use lemon or red wine vinegar). We are finding the tzatziki is tasting delicious and we use it on everything. Thanks!

            1. re: Deborah

              Wonderful! I bet that the Champagne vinegar is a really nice acid for this dish. Not too harsh. I can't imagine not including garlic, but isn't this why we cook at home? To flavor our food just as we want?

              I am so happy for you that you have found your own "house" tzatziki recipe.

              1. re: smtucker

                smutcker....I forgot to say I did use garlic! 3 cloves.....we like our tzatziki garlicky.

      2. Curiosity: if you would be willing to add, say, 2 tbsp. of olive oil to your tzatziki to help with the texture of the finished product, why wouldn't you be ok with using a full-fat yogurt? Is there more than the equivalent of 2 tbsp. of fat in the yogurt? Fat, after all, is fat - milk fat, olive oil, bacon grease - the calories are the same. I'm not asking this to be smart-ass - I actually am wondering about this. I've noticed several posts recently where people were willing to use olive oil in place of butter because of some perceived superiority of the olive oil. And these folks aren't vegans.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Nyleve

          Nyleve...you are so right! I even thought of that as I was writing my post. If I'm willing to add EVOO then what's the difference with using a full fat yogurt? I do believe though, that olive oil is healthier than butter since butter is saturated fat.

          1. re: Nyleve

            I'm not going to argue superiority, but there are real differences in chemical makeup among fats, which affects how they interact with your body. It's not just a question of calories/fuel. Some fats are saturated (most from animal sources, and a few plant fats -- coconut; avocado?), others unsaturated. It's a complex subject that I'm not up to tackling here, but is covered in very understandable detail in Harold McGee's _On Food and Cooking_.

            1. re: ellabee

              ellabee, thanks for your input. I hear what you are saying....I probably made a very sweeping generalization!

              1. re: ellabee

                I take all this food chemistry with a large dollop of salt. I won't argue with you about the relative healthiness of various fats because I can't back any of my beliefs up with science, but I'll always prefer a whole food - whether it's caffeinated coffee, or a whole egg or full-fat yogurt - to something that's been meddled with. My gut feeling is to trust whole foods. Eat less of them if you must, but don't mess with them. Of course, there's a whole diet industry that's built on the exact opposite theory - so clearly I'm out of step with much of the world.

                1. re: Nyleve

                  I do agree with you Nyleve. I think you are saying "eat in moderation". I am comfortable though, with lots of 0% fat yogurts that haven't been meddled with and since we eat a lot of yogurt, I prefer the 0% when possible. I have a scale for weighing meats etc.. and am amazed when "eye balling" a cut of meat and thinking it isn't much, seeing that it is twice the weight I anticipated.

            2. Yep full fat yogurt is a must.

              1. I have had good luck with drained yogurt and half sour cream, that takes care of the lack of richness! I think that it is a common device to imitate the the yogurt in Greece.

                5 Replies
                1. re: chefj

                  Chefj: Does this work with 0% yogurt and sour cream? Thanks so much, a great suggestion.

                  1. re: Deborah

                    Sure, sour cream is about 20% fat so it add all the fat back in for you!

                  2. re: chefj

                    A lot of greek restaurants do that, since the yogurt you get in N. America is not the same as the one in Greece.

                    1. re: hungryann

                      Exactly where I got it from. I can not remember which Greek restaurant but it was in Manchester N.H.

                      1. re: hungryann

                        I've found that full fat Greek yogurt here in the US is very close to what I've had in Greece. The trouble is that most Greek-style yogurts in the US are not made with whole, unpasteurized milk. They're very hard to find. The next best thing is draining organic, whole milk yogurt.