Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do You Call It Tatziki or Tzatziki?

For this traditional Greek dish I say tzatziki, but I see many refer to it as tatziki. How about you? Do you call it tzatziki or tatziki?  Wikipedia seems consistent on tzatziki.  We were just at the Ottawa Greekfest last week (our 28th year!) and their menu board refers to it as tzatziki.  When in Athens, do as the Greeks do. So tzatziki it is!

My first taste of tzatziki was at the Ottawa Greekfest 29 years ago.  We have been going every year since and have only missed out once because of holidays.  After much tzatziki in Greece on our month long honeymoon, we started making it regularly for ourselves.

Roots and Shoots Farm gave me 6 cucumbers in my last CSA basket.  And as the saying goes, when life hands you cucumbers, you make tzatziki. Well, something like that.

Our darling son has been going to Greekfest every year since he was zero.  With garlic juice coursing through his veins he took to preparing our lunch today.


750 gr natural yogurt, drained well
1 or 2 cucumbers, peeled, grated and drained well
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 to 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine drained yogurt, one drained cucumber, one minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Add more cucumber pulp, minced garlic or salt to suit your taste. Lightly dribble 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil on top of the tzatziki when serving.

  • Use full fat yogurt.
  • Drain the yogurt through cheesecloth in a plastic (not metal) colander. I prefer to drain it for a whole day so the yogurt cheese is the consistency of spreadable cream cheese.
  • The cucumber pulp can be squeezed 'dry' if you do not have time to wait for it to drain.
  • Seed the cucumber before grating if the seeds are large.

  • In gyros and doner.  
  • As a dip with raw vegetables or warmed Greek pita bread.
  • Along side souvlaki. 

My favourite store bought Greek pita is made by Pita Delight and can be found at Produce Depot. If you know naan bread, it is very similar in bread texture vs. Lebanese pita.

It tastes best warmed but not so much that it dries out.  If the BBQ is on then I will use it; otherwise, I use a cast iron pan or my heavy crepe pan.

I lightly brush the pita with olive oil.  Place the pita over medium heat until to is starting to brown.  Flip the pita and heat on the second side until it is starting to brown.  The bread should still be soft inside but feel and taste 'baked through'.

You can wrap the bread in foil and keep in the oven at 165F if you are timing the pita with other dishes. Cut into wedges just before serving.

I keep my pita stored in the freezer and take out just what I need each time.  It defrosts very quickly on its own.



  1. I call it Tzatziki! Make mine EXACTLY the same! Yummy, eh? Mmmmm. I love it. I make my own yogurt and then usually hand it overnight to get it really thick - or, do the same with a store bought container of good yogurt. I do usually add dill, but some add fresh mint. Love them all.
    PS - why not join The Canadian Food Experience Project????

    1. I am making tzatziki again Valerie! The cucumbers are taking their last gasp here as the frosty nights are starting to push at us. So I thought, why not one last kick at the can.

      I do want to get organized enough to participate in The Canadian Food Experience Project. Maybe October will be my month with harvest time in high gear.

      I had to chuckle that you made a pitch to 'recruit' me for TCFEP on a post about a ubiquitous Greek dish.


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