Israeli Food

Yogurt and Cucumber Salad

Cool and refreshing on a summer day.

Recipe names can be confusing. Cooks acquainted with the Arabic table know tarator as a tahini-thickened nut sauce. Cooks familiar with Greek and Turkish cuisines see this salad as a cousin to tzatziki and cacik, with the addition of chopped walnuts.

Serves 4 to 6.

2 cups plain yogurt
1 large or 2 small cucumbers
Salt for sprinkling, plus 1 teaspoon
5 or 6 cloves garlic, green sprouts removed and finely minced
2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or mint, or a mixture
Pita bread, cut into quarters if large, halves if small, and warmed

Spoon the yogurt into a sieve placed over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain for four hours.

Peel and seed the cucumber(s). If using the large cucumber, grate it; if using the small cucumbers, cut into tiny dice. Place the grated or diced cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to drain for 30 minutes, then squeeze dry in a kitchen towel. Refrigerate until needed.

In a bowl, stir together the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and vinegar. Add the nuts and olive oil, and fold in the drained yogurt and cucumber(s). Stir in the herbs. Spoon into a shallow bowl and surround with warmed pita. Serve at once.

Reprinted with permission from
Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean
(Chronicle Books).

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Joyce GoldsteinJoyce Goldstein is the author of many cookbooks and also works as a consultant to restaurants and cooking instructor.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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