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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cacik - Yogurt and Cucumber Meze

It has been too long but it's like this once you have a vacation.  You mentally check out from all the things you should be doing and if you are a mother then you start thinking what to pack.  Yes I was on holiday again and it was great.  But it is time to get back on the usual daily routine so as I promised I am writing the recipe for the famous "Cacik".  I guess it is a little strange for me to write this because I never heard of a Turkish person giving the recipe for this to another Turkish person.  It seems like we learn this from our mothers and pass it on to our children. It comes naturally, without being written anywhere.  It is also too easy to write.  However I had so many friends asking for the recipe so I had to write it.  The way cacik is done varies within different parts of the country, however the ingredients are generally the same.  In some parts, they add some water to the yogurt so that it almost has the texture of a cold soup.  I prefer it with a thick yogurt.   This time I used fresh peppermint and it was delicious. 

(Makes about 4-5 portions as a dip or meze)
500 g natural yogurt
a large cucumber, peeled and finely chopped into very small bits
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely chopped
a handful of fresh peppermint leaves (alternatively you can use dried and crushed peppermint)
salt to taste
a drizzle of olive oil (optional)

If you have time, prepare this few hours before you serve because it tastes much better if it waits a little while.
Mix yogurt with garlic, salt and cucumbers.  Finely chop most of the mint leaves and mix them into the yogurt.  Leave some of the mint leaves to garnish.  Pour the cacik into bowls to serve.  Garnish with some mint leaves. You can also add a drizzle of olive oil on top before you serve. 
You can also put some crushed chilies on top if you want to spice it up.  It goes really well with the Chickpea and Bulgur kofte from the previous post.