mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Greek Cucumber Salad

In Dips and Spreads, Low Fat, on the side, Under 30 min!, Vegetables on July 25, 2007 at 11:12 pm

greek cucumber salad
This is my son’s favourite salad. And it is, perhaps, the oldest recipe in my repertoire. I read the recipe in National Geographic Kid’s, NatGeo’s magazine for children, when I was about 13 years old, and have been making it since.

Yes, it is very much like the Indian cucumber raita. But with a twist. This raita includes lime juice, which I had thought odd, since dahi is already a little tart. But am I glad my young mind didn’t decide to omit it! I have a rule of sorts – the first time around I try to stick to a recipe as much as possible, substituting only if an ingredient is unavailable.

This is the usual salad that I make with a quick dinner of matar-pulao (peas pulao), or even with the Quabooli whenever I’m not quite up to making boorani.

Garlic and yoghurt get along famously, and the lime adds an additional note of summer fresh to the cool salad. Nothing is superfluous here. If you use grated cucumber, and thickened yoghurt (by draining away the whey), you would get a version of Tzatziki – a Greek cucumber-yoghurt dip. The dip is great served with corn or even potato chips.


greek cucumber salad


Greek Cucumber Salad

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced thin (Indian desi cucumbers are a variety of gherkin, and do not need to be seeded)
2 C natural (3%) yoghurt (dahi/Greek style)
2 cloves garlic, smashed to a pulp
juice of half a lime
few twists of freshly cracked pepper
½ t salt

Peel, slice, and salt the cucumber. Put in a colander to drain for 10 min. Beat the yoghurt with a wire whisk a few times to make it smooth. Add the pulped garlic, and the lime juice. Lightly salt the yoghurt (remember the cucumber has been salted). Rinse the salted cucumber in cold water. Drain, squeezing lightly. Add to the garlic flavoured yoghurt. Add a few turns of freshly cracked pepper. Serve chilled.

  1. Cooking by the book is tough for me.Tzatziki was the first thing that came to my mind when i saw the post. I love to make this with greek yogurt (which is like hung curds).

    It is the same ingredients, almost. The olive oil is missing.

  2. The oldest recipe in your repertoire is very elegant and grown-up, I must say! It looks delicious. I miss those awesome Indian cucumbers.
    My oldest recipe: “Cake” made by smashing up Parle-G biscuits, adding water and spooning the mixture into molds. Mmmm 😀 (in my defense, I was about 5-6 ys old at the time).

    Well, your cake was edible – something that cannot be said for the pies I made when I was 5! Mud pies. 😀

  3. That must be so quick! I will try this because I have never really tried garlic and cucumber together!

    Under 5 min!

  4. That must be tasting really good.Must try it some time.

    It is among the family favs!

  5. hey that looks fabulous must be tasting different when we add garlic and lime juice….Have to try this soon..

    It is amazing what a little bit of innocent-looking lime juice can do…

  6. That looks so good!I make something very similar but have never tried adding garlic or lime juice.
    Anita, as always your pics are just fab! 🙂

    Why don’t you send this to Shaheen of Malabar Spices for her express cooking event?

    You are very perceptive, TBC! I started to write an entire menu for her event then decided this needed a post of its own – so did it first…watch for a link from another post soon!

  7. Hello Anita, Nice to go thru ur blog. Have never been to Delhi, but i had always wished to visit that place when i was in India. This is now in my list of things to do in my life sometime 🙂 U’ve a good and an impressive blog here. Have added you in my blogroll and will keep dropping by. Keep up the work.

    Thanks for your encouraging words, Mona.

  8. I have that same rule- following a recipe closely the first time through. I make Tzatziki pretty much the same way as this, except I add a little olive oil. Very good with gyros.

    It’s a good rule – ans has served me well. Once you know what the recipe is supposed to achieve you can go ahead and make changes and know whether it still holds on to its essence or not.

  9. looks yummy… I add a little lime juice to my yogurt based raitas, but now there is a real recipe to follow… 🙂

    You don’t need a recipe then! Do you add the garlic, but? 😉

  10. Anita that salad is quite inviting. The garlic makes it different as our koshimbirs never have it. Its perfect with a spicy rice combo. Will try.

    That’s right, Anjali. The garlic as well as the lime juice are the different touch – very Greek.

  11. I’ll find some Greek yoghurt to make this! Thanks for this refreshing one! Hey Anita, one more question, can I make orangeade the same way as limeade?

    I didn’t know there was orangeade! 😀 But the method should be the same – you may want to reduce the amount of sugar though, and I’d add some lime juice as well…That orange peel infusion will be heaven!

  12. The salad is very tempting and looks very easy and tasty!!

    Easy peasy, as they say 😀 Even kids can do this!

  13. I love greek food and a good Tzatziki is always on the menu when we order or make it at home. But I am sure making it with Indian cucumbers the taste was surely wonderful.

    Cool and refreshing – and less work with Indian cucumbers!

  14. Orangeade…I’ve made it, have blood-orange syrup in the fridge right now…less sugar, yep! Grapefruit is good too…

  15. So refreshing! a lovely note from your childhood days…..this one is evergreen, Anita!

    Yup, it’s timeless – a classic!

  16. Yummy 🙂 So refreshing for summer heat.

  17. Hi Anita,

    this one is also our super favorite side dish. I actually make exactly the same one, but I add a handfull of fresh chopped dill. If you like dill aroma, you will be very pleased.

    I am so happy that it has been authenticated! Hope to see you here again!

  18. One of my favorite raitas.

    Interestingly we use garlic in our pahari raita too and spike it with a pinch of turmeric. And here is the twist..we grind some black mustard seed and use it as a garnish. I have never tasted this kind of raita anywhere else. Try it sometimes and you will be pleasantly surprised.

    I have always wondered how the pahari community came to make this particular raita with garlic…I am not sure if there is any other community out there that makes it this way.

    Happy cooking!

    kamla bhatt

  19. Hi, Thankyou so much for this recipe. I will surely give this a try. Its so hot in here, I am sure this will be a great way to beat the heat.

  20. mmm looks tempting 😀

  21. […] served with a garlic-y raita such as this cucumber salad when pressed for time, or with Baingan ki boorani, which will make aubergine lovers out of sworn […]

  22. […] was feeling particularly happy with the yoghurt dip I churned up……i’d been eying anitha’s recipe for ages now…but as always got down to making it at a time that i least expected […]

  23. […] choice and munchies such as these on the side.  There is usually a dip: fresh-made tomato salsa or tzatziki.  On Sunday, when the maid gets her day off , I celebrate my freedom from having to supervise […]

  24. I tried this out today. We’ve been taking lunch to office (avoiding the oily canteen food). It was quick and easy and I loved the taste! I am partial to garlic. I wasnt sure if curd and garlic would go well together but it did make a great combination!

    Glad you tried it, Mandira. This one is such a easy recipe. Garlic and curd work very well together!

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