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Bulgarian tarator
Alternative names Ttalattouri
Type Soup
Serving temperature Cold, can be served in a glass
Main ingredients Yogurt or tahini, cucumber, garlic, walnuts, dill, vegetable oil, water
Cookbook: Tarator  Media: Tarator

Tarator, tarathor, taratur, or ttalattouri (Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian Cyrillic: таратор, Albanian: Tarator, Sals kosi, Turkish: cacık, Greek: τζατζίκι / τταλαττούρι (Cyprus)), is a soup, appetizer, or sauce found in the cuisines of Eastern Europe. It generally includes ground walnuts, garlic, and yogurt or tahini, and often cucumber, herbs, and vinegar or lemon juice.

In the Balkans, it is a cold soup (or a liquid salad), popular in the summer. It is made of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, walnut, dill, vegetable oil, and water,[1] 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 and Levantine tarator is usually a sauce based on tahini, not yogurt. It is often served with fish or fried seafood.

Cypriot Greek: τταλαττούρι is not a soup-like sauce like Bulgarian tarator but more of a dipping sauce from strained yogurt.


The word is found in languages from the Balkans to the Levant, and appears to be of Slavic origin, coming from Bulgaria.[2][3]

Regional variations[edit]

In Bulgaria,[4] 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. Sometimes it is served in a water glass because it is a good addition to a glass of liquor, such as mastika (мастика) or ouzo. 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 summertime. 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 dish is known as Tzatziki. Tzatziki usually contains olive oil, dill, lemon juice in addition to the ingredients listed above.

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 chips are put in the dish just before serving.

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

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 Syria and Lebanon, طرطور (Tarator or Taratour in Latin letters) is made of Tahini, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt and water. It is served to (deep) fried vegetables, such as cauliflower, as part of Mezze or as a complete meal. It usually also accompanies Falafel whether it comes on a plate or in a sandwich. Unlike in Lebanese/Arab restaurants and eateries in Europe where sometimes yoghurt is added it usually is vegan.

In Cyprus, Greek: τταλαττούρι is not a soup-like sauce like Bulgarian tarator but more of a dipping sauce from strained yogurt. It is composed of cucumbers, minced garlic cloves, a little olive oil and sprinkled with some oregano at the end.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tarator recipe
  2. ^ Andriotis et al., Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης, Λεξικό της κοινής Νεοελληνικής s.v. ταρατόρι
  3. ^ E. Saussey, Les mots turcs dans le dialect arabe de Damas, Mélanges de l'Institut français de Damas 1 (1929), p. 84, 127
  4. ^ pers comm, Емил Атанасов и Нина Шарова