CYPRIOT RECIPES | I am still in a Cypriot mood… but I will come back to Vietnamese recipes very soon, right after I make halloumi ravioli, I promise. Not that I am bored with Cypriot food but this blog is still mainly about Vietnamese food. I even have plenty of ideas for 2016. I would really like to dig into my childhood memories, and come up with some classics that are not so easy to order in your regular Vietnamese restaurant around the corner. I would like to research what today’s Vietnamese street food looks like, and try some more sophisticated “fusion” inventions. But shhhhhh … let’s get back to today’s recipe which has nothing to do with all that.
Today, I would like to show you how to make real τζατζίκι, the way it is prepared in Cyprus. In fact, I shouldn’t even write τζατζίκι because that is the Greek word for it. In Cyprus, people say ταλατούρι (talatouri) and add dried mint to this dip. Important here is that you use real Greek or Cypriot yogurt made from sheep’s milk. I found some in the Mediterranean supermarket freshmed in Etterbeek in Brussels. It is strained yogurt, which makes it much creamier, smoother and thicker. And because it is made of sheep milk, it is also naturally sour. Combined with the fresh taste of cucumbers and dried mint, and served with some pitta bread, it fits perfectly in any mezze. Or if you prefer, you can just serve it as an appetizer. “Cheaters” may use strained yogurt made from cow’s milk and add some lemon juice to make it sour. But it really isn’t the same thing…
For about 600 gr ταλατούρι, you will need:
- 400 gr strained yogurt made from sheep’s milk
- 300 gr cucumber (a little less than a regular cucumber or 2 to 3 small cucumbers)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 to 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 teaspoons dried spearmint
Grate and strain the cucumber.
Don’t hesitate to press it with your hands to release as much juice as possible. If you wish, you could keep this first juice and add it into your breakfast smoothie. After you have put aside this first juice, add half a flat teaspoon of salt and press again to release even more juice. I wouldn’t recommend that you use this second juice for your morning smoothie ;-).
Add the yogurt, the dried mint (if necessary break it down with your hands), and the olive oil. Mince the garlic thinly and add it in the bowl. Mix everything and if necessary, add some salt. Taste the ταλατούρι … it’s ready!
See you soon! I promised it before, but this time, it’s really true: the next time, let’s make some halloumi ravioli!