Today I will introduce you to a very special dish in Turkish cuisine. It is called Cacik, almost identical to Greek Tzatziki; however, there is a huge difference in nutritional efficiency. Cacik is keto-friendly and purely gut healing, while the Greek Tzatziki requires bread or snacks that is against keto and healthy gut practices.
Ever since I moved to the United States, it has amazed me how much Americans know about Greek food. Gyro, baklava, pita and hummus and all kinds of Greek (Turkish) sides and desserts can be found in grocery stores. Tzatziki, too, is one of these commonly found Greek items in this country.
What is Tzatziki?
Creamy Greek yogurt with grated fresh cucumbers, olive oil, and some lemon juice. It is absolutely delicious but the problem with tzatziki is that you can only have so much because it’s too rich. You typically dip chips or pita in tzatziki dip which makes you satisfied super fast. Here is an authentic tzatziki recipe. As a Turkish Mediterranean, I see lots of missed gut healing potential in this dish. Our Turkish tzatziki recipe does not call for chips or pita of any sort.
Why make Cacik instead of Tzatziki?
Turkish people use similar ingredients and call it “cacik.” Cacik is more than a dip in Turkish cuisine. It is the clutch side dish served with almost every meal, every season. But it is the most refreshing in the Summer.
Turkish people leave out the extra ingredients that would make this dish extra rich and high in calories. No olive oil, no lemon juice, no bread and no chips. That way we can eat a bowl full of cacik vs three dips from tzatziki.
Cacik: A Perfect Summer Soup
Cacik is made with powerful, gut healing ingredients such as fresh garlic, yogurt and cucumbers. Dry mint is used to garnish cacik and perfectly compliment this refreshing summer soup. I typically throw in a couple of ice cubes to take it to the next level. With every spoon, I love feeling the crunchiness of the cucumber and fresh garlic pieces joining together with the light salt and mint. I let myself experience health, wellness and fun all together.
3/4 serving bowl of Bulgarian Yogurt
1-2 medium Persian cucumber
1 big garlic clove
1/2 cup water
2 ice cubes
1.Chop up the cucumber in tiny squares
3.Combine yogurt, cucumber and garlic in your serving bowl
4.Add in water
5.Grab a handful of dry mint and sprinkle it over while crushing it with your fingers. This will activate the fragrance of the mint.
6.Add salt and stir the cacik
7.Lastly drop an ice cube or two in the cacik to make it cool and refreshing
Mediterranean Tips to Make the Best Cacik
- If you live in the United States, you must be very careful with your yogurt brand choice. Not every Yogurt brand is traditional, probiotic yogurt. I have tried so many different grocery stores and brand and finally found the closest yogurt brand that tastes just like my mom’s home made yogurt. It is the Bulgarian Yogurt by White Mountain.
- Dry mint can be found in grocery stores spice sections; however, the best mint will be fresh mint dried in the sun and stored in a clean jar for cooking. My mom has always made her own dried mint and the flavor is the best.
- Make sure that the consistency of your cacik is not too runny or too solid. Remember this recipe is technically soup.
- Try to create an experience where you get just the right amount of salt, garlic and mint with each spoon and it leaves you wanting more.
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