Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews with a heavy emphasis on San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Tzatsiki and other yogurt salsas

Jerry Stratton, April 29, 2006

Tzatziki is just one form of yogurt salsa that makes for a great change of pace on tortillas and other spicy foods. Yogurt is a very versatile ingredient to have on hand.

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 5 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3-4 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Steps

  1. Peel the cucumber, half it lengthwise, seed it, and chop it into small chunks.
  2. Mix the yogurt, cucumber, onion, and garlic.
  3. Add mint, salt, and pepper to taste.

As you might have guessed from some of the other recipes on this site, I like to always keep fresh salsa or its ingredients on hand. Tortilla chips and salsa—with an emphasis on the salsa—make a great quick meal.

You might recognize this yogurt salsa as a form of the Greek tzatziki. If you’re making it for a party, garnish with sprigs of mint. Serving with small toast rounds or warm pita bread is traditional, but it works great as a dip for tortillas and tortilla chips also.

Yogurt makes a great base for salsas. The simplest yogurt salsa is yogurt, some spice, onion, and a touch of salt. About 3/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup finely-chopped red onion, a half-teaspoon of thyme, and an eighth teaspoon coarse sea salt makes a great salsa for tortilla chips, quesadillas, or meats.

If you have any other fresh vegetables lying around, such as red bells, garlic, or hot peppers, try them out. Likewise, add different spices such as dill, oregano, or cilantro. Like tomato salsa, you can vary the ingredients extensively.

Generally you’re going to use fat yogurt, not low-fat. Trader Joe’s has a “creamline” yogurt that lets you pull off most of the cream for use in biscuits or other baked goods while still leaving a good creamy salsa-friendly yogurt behind.

Most salsas benefit from sitting a little while, but this is especially true for yogurt salsas and doubly true if you use any dried spice such as thyme or dill. Let it sit for an hour or even overnight in the refrigerator to let the yogurt draw out the flavors.

June 9, 2006: Chili Yogurt

As it turns out, ajwain is similar to thyme, although I can’t taste the similarity. You may need less ajwain than I use, simply because I’ve had this spice on my shelf for a long time without using it. The wikipedia entry claims it is also similar to cumin, so I may also try some on popcorn. I’ll definitely be making a lot of this salsa!

The strength of this salsa is its subtlety. If you add more spices or chili, be careful not to add too much. Adding too much chili, or too much of any of the spices, will mask the subtle flavor mix. It’ll still be good, but it won’t be as intriguing.

This salsa greatly benefits from a half an hour to an hour of rest to let the flavors settle.

  1. <- Jerry’s Jambalaya
  2. Mole Chicken ->