I understand the main difference between these two yogurt dishes is that the Iranian version is thicker, and may more often contain mint instead of (or with) the dill. The Greek version often uses strained yogurt, but I decided not to do that — aiming for the overall flavor of the dish in a limited time frame. The Greek version may also be made with mint, although I’ve only ever seen it here (in the US) with dill. A small amount of white onion or shallot can be added to this dish, but I didn’t.
People who eschew dairy — use coconut yogurt instead.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: Raw
“Rest” time: At least a couple hours — you’ll want to taste after about an hour
Serves: It’s a condiment so hard to say. Enough for a small party anyway.
Greek Tzatziki or Persian/Iranian Mast-o-Khiar
- 16 ounces whole plain yogurt, preferably goat if you can find it, but no worries if you don’t.
- 1 cucumber, shredded and drained. English cucumber is best (few seeds), but you can either cut out or leave the seeds in. Peeling optional — although for waxed cukes I peel them.
- 2 minced cloves of garlic
- approx 3 sprigs of fresh (or frozen) dill, chopped and de-stemmed.
- a small handful of fresh mint leaves (optional)
- half a minced shallot (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black (or white) pepper
- Pinch of sea salt
- If you wish the yogurt tart-er, add a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Mix everything up, refrigerate for an hour or two to allow the flavors to “marry”, then taste. Adjust seasonings accordingly, and marinate a while longer before serving. In my case I found that the initial yogurt was very tart, but once I let it marinate with the spices, suddenly a little lemon juice perked things up further.
Excellent served along with falafel, or as a dip for veggies or chips. Or use on top of a salad filled with your favorite greens. It would likely be tasty with a bona fide Greek salad, too. Gently mix before serving in case some of the garlic or shallot has settled to the bottom.
Next time I’m definitely adding in the shallot and a hint of mint… (What a great notion!)
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