Turkish Yogurt With Cucumbers And Herbs Is Called 'Cacık'

A cold bowl of 'cacık' is a Turkish favorite with barbecue menus on hot, summer days. Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2013
    15 min
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Plain yogurt is a staple in Turkish cuisine. It's used for everything from appetizers and salads to soups, toppings and desserts.

'Cacık' (JAH'- juck), or yogurt with cucumbers and herbs, is yet another Turkish favorite made with yogurt. 'Cacık' is a very simple dish that's served cold. It's eaten with a spoon, like soup, but it's enjoyed before or during the meal in place of a salad.

'Cacık' is very easy to make with very simple ingredients. First, the yogurt is watered down and stirred or whipped to make a smooth consistency.

Finely diced cucumber, garlic, dill weed, mint, oregano and other spices are added as desired. Then, the mixture is usually chilled before serving.

Some like it thick and chunky and some like it watery with shredded cucumber. Some even omit the garlic and spices and use only a little salt to flavor it. Every cook makes their own mixture.

Whatever mix of herbs and spices you choose, 'cacık' makes a nutritious, crunchy and refreshing side dish. Creamy, full-fat yogurt and chopped, fresh garlic and herbs work best, but you can also save some calories, fat and time by using low or non-fat yogurt and dried spices and garlic powder.

You can serve 'cacık' anywhere you would serve Greek "tzatziki." It goes especially well with classic Turkish meat fare like grilled meatballs, or "köfte," and kebabs of all kinds.

Try it at your next barbecue or casual meal by adding a small bowl of ice-cold 'cacık' next to each place setting. Garnish each bowl with a few drops of olive oil and a sprig of fresh dill weed or mint.

Make sure you eat your 'cacık' fresh the same day. If it stays in the fridge for too long, the cucumbers will become soggy.

What You'll Need

  • 18 oz/500 gr plain yogurt
  • 2 to 3 cucumbers peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp. salt, more or less to taste
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, or 1 to 2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill weed, finely chopped or 1 tsp. dried dill weed
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped or ½ tsp. dried mint
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. hot red pepper flakes or sweet paprika (optional)

How to Make It

  1. First, whisk the yogurt and olive oil together to make a smooth mixture. Gradually whisk in the water until you get the consistency you want. Some prefer their 'cacık' watery while some like it thick. It's completely up to you.
     
  2. Next add the cucumbers, garlic and spices and mix thoroughly until smooth. Adjust the spices to your taste.
     
  3. It is best to refrigerate your 'cacık' for a few hours before serving. Serve your ice-cold 'cacık' in small, decorative bowls. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in the center of each one. Garnish each with a small sprig of fresh mint or dill weed.