That’s the third batch of drained yogurt I’ve made this week. I can’t stop myself. It’s so easy and it’s so crazy good. I take three or four coffee filters, wet them (it makes them more pliable), squeeze out the extra water and line the bottom and sides of a small colander with it. Pour the yogurt in, layer one last filter on top so it doesn’t dry out, then stick a bowl under the colander to catch the drips. A couple hours (or overnight) in the fridge and it’s turned into something fantastic.
You can do the same with any yogurt, although I’ve read nonfat yogurt can end up a little sour. I use Brown Cow’s whole milk yogurt (because I prefer whole milk yogurts and Whole Foods currently has a coupon for $1 off Brown Cow.) I also think it tastes better than the store-bought Greek yogurts which can sometimes be a little too heavy and even a little pasty-tasting.
So far, I’ve used it as a substitute for sour cream in a couple of recipes—and, of course, just eaten it from the container with some honey or jam—but my favorite use so far as been the cucumber and yogurt salad called tzatziki (in Greece) or cacik (in Turkey).
Here’s the recipe I’ve been using, adapted slightly from my new favorite cookbook, Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Cuisine:
- 1 seedless cucumber (or 2 large cucumbers, seeded), grated or finely chopped
- 1.5 to 2 cups drained yogurt (depending on how much you’ve already eaten)
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves, mashed in a mortar and pestle or crushed
- 2 to 4 tablespoons of chopped mint (or as much as you like, really)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
[If you include the optional oil and vinegar, it’s tzatziki; without them, it’s cacik.] Toss the cucumber with a good amount of salt and let sit in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse and either drain on paper towels or squeeze out excess water by hand. Combine all remaining ingredients and season to taste. Serves 4-6.