Thursday, September 22, 2011

#16 Bulgarian Dry Tarator Salad

dry tarator salad

Every single country on the Balkan peninsula has this salad on their menus and Bulgaria is not exception. It is popular under the names of Сух таратор, (dry tarator), yogurt salad, Snezhanka salad, tzatziki in Greece, cacik in Turkey. The main ingredients are drained yogurt and fresh cucumbers and the rest of the ingredients varies a bit but usually include fresh dill and walnuts among others.

During my childhood we had this salad on special occasions as birthdays and New Year's Eve and it was taking so long to prepare it because strained yogurt was not readily available then and we had to strain normal yogurt in cheesecloth for 2 days before the salad was made.

Usually a special system consisting of two sauce pans and a cheesecloth was built, one placed on a higher place (like table) and the second one beneath. The large one was actually a heavy one-handle pressure cooker filled with water so it works as a counter balance.

The required amount of yogurt was carefully measured so it doesn't turn over the pressure cooker, then placed in a cheesecloth which was standing inside the second saucepan as it starts releasing water almost immediately. Then the four ends of the cheesecloth were tied two by two (the opposite ones), and then the so formed cheesecloth bundle was hung on the pressure cooker's handle.

The second saucepan was place underneath to collect the released water and on the second day the strained yogurt was ready.
Because of all these preparations this salad was considered special, and it is still one of my favourite ones.

Thankfully strained yogurt is readily available now and I make the dry tarator salad as often as I want (which is a bit too often perhaps).

The refreshing salad can be eaten as a mezze or as accompaniment for meat/BBQ.

dry tarator salad


(Serves 6)

500 g Total strained yogurt (I used 0% fat)
1 whole cucumber chopped to cubes - skin peeled
2 cloves of garlic - crushed with pestle and mortar, without the skin
4 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, crushed with pestle and mortar
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

a splash of olive oil (optional)
salt to taste


Crush the garlic with a pinch of salt and mix well with the yogurt. Add the finely cubed cucumber and mix well. Proceed with the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
At the end add the salt and olive oil and serve or store in a fridge. Keeps for 3 days.

Tzatziki salad


sewa elf said...

Very nice, thanks for sharing.

MARION said...

Aulthough I prefer calling it tzatziki, you gave us a pretty good version of this delightful (and date preventing) starter. In Greece, we usually eat it with fried slices of several vegetables (zucchini, aubergine, peppers) during the summer, or with meat during the winter. I would suggest you add a sprinkle of a good quality vinegar and some black pepper. You may also try it with shredded cucumber.

Sneige said...

Thank you!
@marion, totally agree with you!

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

These all white pictures are absolutely stunning. Really inspired to break a few photography rules after seeing them. Love hearing about food from other cultures. Bulgarian food is super interesting. Thanks for popping over to my blog and I'll be revisiting yours for sure.

Mama's World said...

Superb pics!!!

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