500 g natural yoghurt (see Hints and tips)
1 continental cucumber, seeds removed and grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon shredded mint

1. place the yoghurt in a bowl and beat with a whisk to thicken slightly.

2. add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

3. serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or store in a container, refrigerated. it will keep for 12 days but will then become watery.


* You will need2 bowls, cutting board, knife, juicer, grater, spoon measure and spoon.

* The yoghurt needs to be as thick as possible. Use a sheep’s milk yoghurt or strain 750 g natural yoghurt overnight (in the fridge) through a clean muslin cloth set in a strainer over a bowl to catch the liquid. Discard the cloudy liquid. The strained yoghurt is known as ‘labna’. 750 g strained yoghurt will produce about 500 g thick yoghurt after 12 hours. Strain the yoghurt for 2436 hours and it would be too thick for tzatziki and is best used as labna cheese.

* If making tzatziki in advance and to reduce the water content, place the grated or sliced cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt, allow to stand for 30 minutes, rinse under cold water and squeeze
gently to remove excess water.

* Tzatziki can be given more tang by adding the extra juice of ½ lemon, or mellow the flavour by mixing 2 tablespoons mayonnaise to the basic recipe.

* Pepper is deliberately missing from the recipe as it is not usually added. However, if you are a fan, add some to taste.

* Small amounts of leftover tzatziki can be used as a marinade for lamb cutlets, chops or roasting joint, or chicken thigh and breast fillets. Leave overnight and grill, barbecue or roast the next day.

* Serve with roasted vegetables, lentil or chickpea burgers or as an accompaniment to steamed beans.

* To serve as a dip, try hollowing out the inside of a round ‘cob’ loaf and fill the centre with the tzatziki. Toast the inside of the loaf in the oven to make chunky croutons that can be dipped into the tzatziki. Then break off parts of the crusty outer loaf and dip that in as well.

* Replace the mint with basil. On occasions, especially if serving with fish, replace the mint with fresh dill.

* Leftover roast lamb can be sliced and heated in a pan or on the barbecue to resemble ‘gyros’. Dollop tzatziki on the lamb and roll in flat bread with lettuce and tomato.

* Although tzatziki has a special affinity with barbecued or grilled lamb, try it with lamb burgers and grilled chicken breast.


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