So here's another side dish to try, love and then add to your repertoire.
Imagine a side dish that you can knock up in single-digit minutes and that will have a transforming effect on even the simplest of meals. This is the magic wand of side dishes - a mighty side dish - a side dish that has the power to transform the dull into the spectacular. A superhero of side dishes. This is Cacik.
What is cacik?
Cacik (pronounced jajek), is a Turkish dish commonly found in a mezze style spread. It's somewhere in between a Raita and a Tzatziki - think Raita with added garlic or Tzatziki without the lemon. It's thick, creamy yoghurt with cucumber, mint and garlic and it's the garlic that packs the punch and brings a bit of wam bam impact.
This won't be the first time you've heard of this type of side dish for sure, but sometimes we need a little nudge to get it back on our radar - a reminder of how good it is, but also how much lovelier it is when you make it yourself and most importantly how very useful it is to have in your armoury. This is definitely the side dish that I make more than any other. It's the dish that I throw together to unite other dishes and to add a little 'va va voom' to a meal that feels a bit dull.
It's affectionately known as 'Finn's Favourite Sauce' in our house - and quite clearly Finn has great taste.
5 things I've learned about making Cacik
- There's no need to be particularly precise with quantities here - The basic guidelines are chopped up cucumber, yoghurt (the runnier the style that you choose, the more like a dressing it will become), finely grated garlic, freshly chopped mint and some salt. Depending on the proportions, you can tweak it to create the consistency and taste that you prefer.
- This is not one to make too far in advance for two reasons - firstly the cucumber gets watery and makes the salad too runny, but also the raw garlic can become a bit harsh when it's no longer freshly grated. But fear not - a dish that's as quick as this really doesn't need to be prepared ahead of time.
- Swap dill for mint if that's what you have to hand - or leave out the herbs totally. This is free form cooking.
- Serve it chilled.
- A little drizzle of olive oil at the end will give you that cheffy 'I know what I'm doing' look.
And here's why this Cacik will soon be your favourite ... as well as Finn's -
- This side dish can be thrown together at a moment's notice.
- This really is an insanely useful dish - The other night our dinner was some leftover ham from Christmas from the freezer, a little Moroccan Couscous, a green salad and this cacik. It was yum.
- It's a dish that can be many things - a dip for tortilla chips, a dressing, an 'alongside other things' salad or part of a mezze style spread.
- But it can also be ...
- a tasty appetiser with some fresh bread
- perfect on a burger
- lovely with grilled meat or oily fish
- a spectacular mayo substitute in sarnies (especially with some leftover roasted lamb and a few rocket leaves)
- delicious on a crunchy baked potato ...
- a spoonful straight from the bowl is pretty good too ...
Throw this together and be pleased with yourself ...Print