Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Aleko's tzatziki (Τζατζίκι του Αλέκου)

Although the Greco-Creto cuisine sometimes tires me (as this is all I cook, and what we all eat at home), there are some foods in the Greek culinary repertoire that you can never tire of, having acquired the status of becoming staples in the processed food industry. Tzatziki is one of these foods. I was very proud to see it - even in its packaged form - in the supermarkets I visited in London, as well as in New Zealand when I was there last.

tzatziki with carrot

Here's my favorite version of tzatziki, learnt from Alekos in Elafonisi. He always makes it himself, which is probably why it tastes so good. We are going to enjoy this lovely dip with a whole host of leftovers today: greens beans, chicken stew, zucchini patties, yemista and roasted aubergine (which is extremely easy to make: just roast the prepared aubergine slices for a longer amount of time than you would when making imam baldi).


You need:
a pot of yoghurt, Greek-style (which means that it's strained of excess liquids, and not runny)
3-6 cloves of crushed garlic (depending on how strong you want it)
a cup of grated cucumber, strained of its juices (do the same to it as for zucchini when making courgette fritters)
a tablespoon of vinegar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
pepper - Alekos insists that this is the secret ingredient!
grated carrot and/or purslane leaves (these are my additions when making it at home; they are not traditional, but they make for an extra filling dip)

Use a pestle and mortar to grind the garlic with the salt. Then place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix everything together. Leave the mixture in the fridge for an hour for the flavours to blend well. (And if you don't use a pestle and mortar - I never do - it tastes just as delicious.) And if you like tzatziki that much, you might like to try purslane salad.

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