Do you often gauge a Mezze platter by the portion of hummus they serve? We find the restaurants incredibly stingy if they relegate the dips to one corner of the platter in teeny-tiny bowls. Sure, the bulk of the platter is occupied by the falafels, crackers, olive, and pita, but the dips bring a certain sense of harmony to the platter. At the same time, we are all for the fame, love and recognition that has made hummus the ‘it’ dip, but what about the white, creamy dip that comes right beside it. Ever bothered to know its name, or are you still calling it ‘that yoghurt dip’? We don’t blame you, and the name is slightly complicated for a side dish so effortlessly simple. It is known as Tzatziki, by the way, and just like hummus, it has a rich history tied with Greece and all of the Mediterranean region’s evolved palate. 

History of Tzatziki or Tarator Dip

Also known as Tarator dip, the main ingredients of the dip are strained, salted yoghurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt and olive oil. Tarator used to be a popular dish of the Ottoman empire, which was made with vinegar and walnuts. The simple dish made using a handful of ingredients without any heat caught on with people, and various preparations in the region, including dips, sauces and salad, were being addressed as tarator. In the Levant, taratur is a sauce that builds on tahini, while among the Balkan community, tarator was essentially a combination of yoghurt, cucumber and walnuts. 

What Makes Tzatziki The Ideal 'Mezze' Item | How To Eat Tzatziki

For the uninitiated, ‘Mezze’ translates to ‘cold appetisers’, making Tzatziki an ideal ‘Mezze item’. Not only can you use it as a dip for a variety of starters, but also as a spread for your sandwich. You can pair it with other vegetables like zucchini, cucumber and carrot sticks for a low-cal, low-carb snack as well.

Herbs like dill, mint and parsley and thyme are also occasionally used in Tzatziki to give the dip a burst of freshness. Some variations of Tzatziki is also made with purslane, a green, leafy vegetable with very short leaves. When the succulents are added to the dip, they become more or less like a salad, which is why they are also referred to as the ‘glistrida me yiaourti’, meaning purslane and yoghurt salad. 

By now, you may have figured that making Tzatziki is a child’s play, and since there are so many variations of the dip or sauce, what is your excuse not to try it right away? Here’s an easy Tzatziki recipe. Try it soon and let us know if you like it as much as we do.