A popular Turkish yogurt dip with cucumbers and garlic, delicious as an appetiser or turned into a soup and takes just 10 minutes to prepare.
Cacik (pronounced ‘jah-jik’), is a popular savoury side dish from Turkey, made with yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and mint.
Served chilled cacik makes a thoroughly refreshing and cooling side dish for a hot summers day.
The cucumbers and mint give freshness while the base is garlic-y, rich and creamy with a slight sourness from the thick strained yogurt.
As a side dish, Cacik is usually served as part of the meze (appetizers), but it is worth keeping it topped up as it works well with many main courses such as grilled meats and vegetables.
On a visit to the Turkish restaurant Antepliler, we were shown how Cacik can be used as a dip, wrapped in Lahmacun with salad and chunks of meat, or mixed with purslane to form a base layer under tiny meatballs.
Although normally served as a meze or side dish, it is often blended with a little extra cold water to make a refreshing cold soup.
Cacik is easy to make and a wonderful accompaniment to most barbecued and grilled meats. I usually serve Cacik with these delicious Kuru Köfte Meatballs.
Use a thick strained Turkish yogurt (süzme yogurt) or Greek yogurt for that rich creaminess. Then add a tiny bit of water and beat to a smooth consistency.
For a more dense Cacik (such as the Iranian Mast O Khiar) skip the water, and for a runny dip (like a Raita) use a normal plain yogurt with its whey.
We like to use small baby cucumbers (also known as Persian cucumbers, measuring approximately 5 inches in length), as they have a better flavour, are slightly sweeter with tender skins and contain and less water than regular cucumbers.
If you cannot find baby cucumbers, half a regular English cucumber will work too in which case you can probably skip the tablespoon of water in the recipe.
Wash the cucumbers before chopping, there is no need to peel the skins. Only grate them if you are making cacik soup as grating releases more water.
Although cucumbers are available throughout the year, they are most delicious during their peak season which runs from May through to August. Check out my post on the benefits of eating seasonally.
You can use other fresh herbs such as parsley or dill.
Cacik is made using cucumbers but you could add sliced scallions, and there are similar versions using spinach, chard or purslane.
Whatever you choose should complement the flavours of the dish you are serving it with.
For cacik soup
This quick and cooling summer soup requires no cooking making it ideal for those hot sultry days when it’s too hot cook in the kitchen.
- Simply follow the recipe below to prepare cacik, then stir in some icy cold water (approximately 120 ml or ½ cup).
- Pour in a little water at a time to achieve your desired soupy consistency. Then taste for seasoning, adding a little more salt if required.
The combination of fresh produce, salt and dairy means that the Cacik won’t keep for longer than a day so it is best to prepare it the same day.
Ideally make it a couple of hours before serving then cover and chill till ready to serve, this will enable the flavours to come together nicely.
Your questions answered
Cacik is actually the same as Greek tzatziki, both having only slight regional differences in the herbs or spices used and their consistency.
Check out my other recipes for Dips & Sauces.
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Cacik Turkish Yogurt Dip
- 560 grams yogurt (2 cups) strained, Turkish or Greek
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 baby* cucumbers or ½ a regular English cucumber
- salt to taste
- 5 leaves fresh mint chopped
- olive oil to drizzle
- 560 grams yogurt, 1 tablespoon waterIn a medium bowl, beat the yogurt and water till creamy and smooth.
- 3 cloves garlic, 2 baby* cucumbers, saltChop the cucumbers into small pieces and mince the garlic, then add to the yogurt. Add salt and mix well.
- 5 leaves fresh mint, olive oilStir in the chopped mint and drizzle with olive oil. Cover and chill till required.
To make cacik soupThis recipe makes cacik soup for two people. After preparing the cacik, mix with around 120 ml (½ cup) cold water to achieve the desired consistency. Serve chilled.
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Nutritional information is calculated automatically and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The information above is an estimate per serving.
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