Cacik – Yoghurt and Cucumber

Cacık (pronounced ‘jajuk) is one of the absolutely central mezes in Turkey. It can be eaten on its own as a refreshing gazpacho style appetitzer, quite sublime on a hot summer’s day (try adding some ice cubes!). Or it can be enjoyed served alongside almost anything, from kebabs to rice, and from fried courgettes and aubergines (eggplants) to simple pilav (rice). In Turkey it’s typically served very runny, but by omitting the water, you can conjure a thick yoghurty paste more akin to Greek ‘tzatziki’.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

750 grams yoghurt (full fat natural, thick ‘Greek style’)
3 large cucumbers
1 cup of cold water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Dill – several sprigs, finely chopped
A few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon
Some black pepper

Preparation:

Mix the garlic, salt, yoghurt, and water in a bowl. Finely chop the cucumbers (some people prefer peeled, others prefer keeping the crunch of the skin), and add to the mixture, give it a good stir, taste for seasoning, and chill. Then pour into bowls, trickle a little olive oil on top of each and sprinkle with dill.

As an alternative take on Cacık try swapping some chopped fresh mint for dill, and adding a little finely chopped spring onions.