|Alternative names||Herb salad with yogurt Yoghurt with cucumber and garlic |
|Type||Dip or Soup|
|Course||Side dish Meze|
|Place of origin||Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Greece, Armenia|
|Region or state||Anatolia, Balkans|
|Main ingredients||Yogurt, variety of herbs, cucumber, garlic, salt, olive oil and sometimes lemon juice or vinegar|
|Variations||With strained or diluted yoghurt and other herbs and vegetables|
|94.8 kcal  kcal|
Cacık (Turkish pronunciation: [dʒaˈdʒɯk]; Anglicised: //; Greek: τζατζίκι [dzaˈdzici] or [dʒaˈdʒici]); (Ottoman Turkish language: جاجيق ; Persian: ماست و خیار ; Kurdish: jaj) is a dish of seasoned, strained or diluted yogurt, eaten throughout the former Ottoman countries. It is similar to tarator in Balkan cuisine. It is made of salted strained yogurt or diluted yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and some herbs like dill, mint, parsley, thyme etc. It is always served cold.
The root cac is likely related to several words in Western Asian languages. Persian zhazh (ژاژ) refers to various herbs used for cooking. Kurdish (Kurmanji) jaj refers to caraway, while Armenian taghdz (դաղձ) refers to mint. The suffix -ık is Turkish and is related to Armenian -ıχ (-ıg).
Evliya Çelebi's 17th-century Seyâhatnâme travelogue defined cacıχ (cacıg) as a kind of herb. Another pre-1900 source identified it with Van herbed cheese from eastern Turkey. Ahmet Vefik Pasha's 1876 Ottoman Turkish dictionary defined cacık as an herb salad with yogurt. This remains the most common definition today.
The word cacık is also used in Turkish as a slang term for "fool" or "naïf".
Turkish cacık is made of yoghurt, salt, olive oil, crushed garlic, chopped cucumber, mint. Among these ingredients, vinegar (mostly white grape or apple), lemon juice, and sumac are optional. Dill and thyme (fresh or dried) and sumac and paprika may be used alternately.
Mostly, cacik is served to accompany main dishes. As a side dish, it is diluted with water, which results in a soup-like consistency. If consumed as a meze, it is prepared undiluted but follows the same recipe. Often, dill and thyme are added as well. Ground paprika may also be added if it is prepared as a meze and to be served with some grilled meat, other mezzes or rakı (a Turkish spirit similar to Greek ouzo). More rarely, it is prepared with lettuce or carrots instead of cucumber under the name of kış cacığı (winter cacık) or havuç tarator.
Haydari is a different type of mixture of some herbals, spices, garlic with strained yoghurt or labne. The main differences to cacık is that cucumber is not included in the recipe and that strained yoghurt or labne is used. It is just served as mezze and it have to be more strained and soury and salty than cacık.
Other Variations With Different Herbs and Vegies
Carrot and other vegetables
Greek-style tzatziki sauce is served with grilled meats or may be served as a mezze alongside other mezzes, dishes and ouzo. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon juice, and dill or mint or parsley.
There are dishes similar to cacık called tarator in many Balkan countries.
In Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, the same dish is known as "dry tarator" (Bulgarian: сух таратор, Macedonian: сув таратур, Serbian: сув таратор), or as "Snezhanka" salad (салата "Снежанка"), which means "snow white salad", and is served as an appetizer. During preparation, the yoghurt (Bulgarian: кисело мляко, Macedonian: кисело млеко, Serbian: кисело млеко) is hung for several hours in a kerchief and loses about half of its water (drained yogurt, Bulgarian: цедено кисело мляко, Serbian: цеђено кисело млеко, Macedonian: цедено кисело млеко). The cucumbers, garlic, minced walnuts, salt and vegetable oil are then added.
In Bulgaria, tarator is a popular meze (appetizer) but also served as a side dish along with Shopska salad with most meals. Sunflower and olive oil are more commonly used and walnut is sometimes omitted. Tarator is seasoned with garlic and dill both of which can be omitted if so desired. Tarator is a popular dish in Bulgaria. A salad version of tarator is known as "Snowwhite salad" (Bulgarian: салата Снежанка- "salata Snezhanka" or "Snejanka" ), also called Dry Tarator. It is made of thick (strained) yogurt, without water. It can be served as an appetizer or as a side to the main meal. It is a common refresher during the summer.
In Macedonia, tarator or taratur is made with garlic, soured milk, cucumber, sunflower oil and salt. It is garnished with dill and served either room temperature or chilled (sometimes by adding ice blocks).
In Albania Tarator is a very popular dish in summer time. It is usually served cold and is normally made from yoghurt, garlic, parsley, cucumber, salt and olive oil. Fried squids are usually offered with Tarator.
A similar dish is made in Iran, called mast-o-khiar literally meaning yogurt with cucumber. It is made using a thicker yogurt, which is mixed with sliced cucumber, and mint or dill (sometimes chopped nuts and raisins are also added as a garnish).
Other far variants and similar dishes
A variation in the Caucasus mountains, called ovdukh, uses kefir instead of the yogurt. This can be poured over a mixture of vegetables, eggs and ham to create a variation of okroshka, sometimes referred to as a 'Caucasus okroshka'.
In India a similar dish is made with yoghurt, cucumber, salt and ground cumin (sometimes also including onions) called raita.
- Ahmet Vefik Paşa, Lugat-ı Osmani (1876)
- Grigson, Jane; Yvonne Skargon (2007). Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book. U of Nebraska P. pp. 239–40. ISBN 978-0-8032-5994-2. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Classic Greek Tzatziki Sauce
- Razuvajeva, Olga (2009). "Slang in the Turkish Language as a Social, Linguistic, and Semiotic Phenomenon". University of Gaziantep Journal of Social Sciences 8 (1): 299–316. ISSN 1303-0094.
- "Cacık". EtimolojiTurkce. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
- Ahmet Vefik Pasha, Ottoman Turkish Dictionary, s.v. cacık
- Hoffman, Susanna (2004). The olive and the caper: adventures in Greek cooking. Workman. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-56305-848-6.
- pers comm, Емил Атанасов и Нина Шарова
- Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism Web site: contains recipes and nutritional information
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