A Greek version of a ubiquitous commestable
combining cucumbers and yoghurt.
2 cucumbers, large peeled, seeded and either cubed small, or grated
2 cups yoghurt, thick, beaten smooth with a fork
2 cloves garlic, chopped and bruised, or grated or as paste with
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS chopped fresh mint leaf
1 tsp dried mint
1/2 lemon, juice of
however many grinds of black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.
1. The proportions of ingredients are almost completely variable.
Substitution of fresh dill for mint is normal, and depends
on circumstance of use. Which will work better with everything
else being served?
2. The combination of cucumber and yoghurt is as ubiquitous
throughout the mediterranean area as it is through
Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, other "stans" and some
Himalayan cultures, and of course, Iran. It is called
Mast-O Khiar in Farsi. Borani-E Khiar is a Persian variant
that adds chopped walnuts. It is called "cacik" in
Turkey, and that is most probably where the Greek word
and dish actually comes from.
3. In India, such a "raita" also often has the addition of
chopped or grated hot peppers, and may substitute lime for
lemon. A flavorful moistening for freshly cooked rice, a
snack or palate cleansing side dish.
4. The idea of cucumbers combined with some dairy product
seems to exist in most cuisines of the world, throughout
Europe, East and West, greater Russia, the Middle East
and Mediterranean areas. The cuisines of China, Korea
and Japan do not rely on dairy products, and so use
another alternative treatment with vinegar and other
condiments that is also found throughout the world,
anyplace cucumbers are available.
That art of the cumcumber seems to have been given us
by the ancient Persians, to whom all culinary art owes
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Created: July 27, 2007