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Alternative names
Yogurt with cucumber or herb salad with yogurt
Type Side dish
Place of origin
Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia
Region or state
Balkan, Anatolia
Serving temperature
Main ingredients
Yogurt, variety herbals, cucumber, garlic, salt, olive oil and sometime lemon juice or vinegar
Cookbook:Tzatziki  Tzatziki

Cacık or tzatziki (Greek: τζατζίκι [dzaˈdzici]; Anglicised: /zɑːdˈzki/; Turkish pronunciation: [dʒaˈdʒɯk] or [dʒaˈdʒici]); Persian: ماست و خیار ‎; Kurdish: jaj[1]) is a dish of seasoned, strained yogurt, eaten throughout the former Ottoman countries. It is similar to tarator in Balkan cuisine. It is made of salted strained yogurt or yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, with sometimes vinegar or lemon juice, and some herbs like dill, mint, parsley, thyme etc.[2][3] It is always served cold.


ژاژ (jaj) in Persian, cacıχ in Armenian and Kurdish refers to herbs like mint, thyme, etc. The suffix -ık comes from Turkish. This in combination results in cacık in Turkish and tzatziki in Greek.[4]

Ahmet Vefik Pasha's old Ottoman Turkish language dictionary defines it as "Herb salad with yoghurt" in 1876. (Ahmet Vefik Paşa, Lugat-ı Osmani (1876))



Turkish Cacık is made of yoghurt, salt, olive oil, crushed garlic, chopped cucumber, mint.[5] 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.

When the Cacık served as side dish

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.[6]

When served as mezze


Main ingredents of Greek style Tzatziki

Greek tzatziki is served with grilled meats or as a mezze. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon juice or red wine vinegar, and dill or mint or parsley.[7]


In Cyprus, the dish is known as talattouri[8] (cf. tarator), and recipes often include less garlic and includes the herb mint, unlike the Greek counterpart.

The Balkans[edit]

Main article: Tarator

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. It is made of strained yogurt with cucumbers, garlic, minced walnuts, salt and vegetable oil.

Tzatziki salade.JPG

In Bulgaria,[9] 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 often seasoned with garlic, dill, or both. 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.

When cacik is served as soup

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).

Tarator is a popular salad and dip in Serbia rather than a soup; it is also known as "tarator salata". It is made with yogurt, sliced cucumber and diced garlic, and served cold.

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.

Middle East[edit]

Similar dishes in Iraq are known as jajeek. They are normally served as meze to accompany alcoholic drinks, especially arak.

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[edit]

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, raita is a similar dish made with yoghurt, cucumber, salt and ground cumin (sometimes also including onions).

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Classic Greek Tzatziki Sauce
  4. ^
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Classic Greek Tzatziki Sauce
  8. ^ Hoffman, Susanna (2004). The olive and the caper: adventures in Greek cooking. Workman. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-56305-848-6. 
  9. ^ pers comm, Емил Атанасов и Нина Шарова

External links[edit]