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Cucumber yoghurt dip (Cacik)

The most essential of Turkish dips is cacik. It is omnipresent on every Turkish table and some folks believe that no meal is complete without cacik being present. This dish dates back to the Ottoman Empire when yoghurt became integrated more as a staple into the cuisine.

At its core, cacik is yoghurt, cucumber and mint, but this recipe is much more complex. There is the addition of walnuts for a nutty bite, raisins for a hint of sweetness and yuzu kosho for some spice. The cacik is loaded with flavour, as compared to some of the basic recipes and pairs perfectly with everything. You can use it as a dip with crudités, as I have done here, but also serve it as a side for kebabs and roasted meat dishes. the freshness of the dip is perfect for those rich greasy dishes as it helps cut the fat.

This cookbook, based on a fabulous restaurant that is now no longer, is absolutely fantastic. I love the diverse flavours, the unique dishes and the vibrant recipes, like this salad. I love the chef's creativity, the absolute attention to detail for every recipe and his creativity in matching flavours together. I could cook from here every day.

For more recipes from the amazing cookbook, click here.


1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and cut into rough pieces

1 1/2 cups Greek yoghurt

1 cucumber

2 tablespoons golden raisins

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 2 limes

1 -1 1/2 teaspoons yuzu kosho

1 garlic clove, finely minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

20 mint leaves

For the crudites:

1 red or yellow pepper, thinly sliced

1 carrot, cut into batons

Brocolli or cauliflower, broken into small florets

Zucchini cut into batons

Radish cut into batons

Pita bread or chips

Peel the cucumber if desired, especially if it has a thick skin. Grate to a fine shred. Mix with 1/4 teaspoon salt and put into a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze out as much water as possible.

Mix all the ingredients, except the shaved cucumber—taste for salt.

Serve chilled garnished with a walnut half.

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