|Main ingredient(s)||Yogurt, cucumber, garlic, walnuts, dill, vegetable oil, water|
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Tarator, Tarathor or Taratur ( Persian: آب دوغ خیار, Turkish: tarator, Bulgarian: таратор, Macedonian: таратур, Serbian: таратор), is a traditional Balkan dish. It is a cold soup (or a liquid salad), popular in the summertime in Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, southeastern Serbia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and in Cyprus (where it is known as Ttalattouri). It is made of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, walnut, dill, vegetable oil, and water, and is served chilled or even with ice. Local variations may replace yogurt with water and vinegar, omit nuts or dill, or add bread. The cucumbers may on rare occasions be replaced with lettuce or carrots. Turkish tarator is completely different from the Balkan tarator as is the Turkish tarator which is based on tahini not yoghurt. How such different dishes came to share a name has as yet no explanation.
Etymologically, taratuar (-tori) is related to Albanian dhalla and Romanian zară (same meaning, see also the list of Romanian words of possible Dacian origin), while the proper Albanian name for yogurt is kos.
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 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
In Greece, a similar meal is known as tzatziki. Tzatziki usually contains olive oil, parsley and mint in addition to the ingredients listed above. The word used for the Cypriot variant, ttalattouri, derives from the word tarator via Persian.
A similar dish in Iran is called Ab-Doogh-Khiar which contains salt, basil, leek, mint, black pepper, raisins, and ice. In this style, sometimes dried bread chip is also put in the dish just before serving the dish. Similar to cereal, dried bread chips must remain crisp in some styles.
In Turkish cuisine, "tarator" is a dip sauce generally eaten with fried fish and squid. The sauce includes white bread crumbs, walnuts, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, herbs and yogurt. One Turkish version using the name, tahinli tarator, is a similar dish specifically containing tahin or sesame. In the coastal towns of Turkey, fried squid or mussels are almost always served with tarator sauce.
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).