This Jajik recipe is my family's version of a cucumber yogurt salad, and the way I grew up eating it. It is very similar to yogurt based salads or dips such as cacik, tzatziki, or raita. It's super refreshing served next to rice dishes or grilled meat. It's my go-to salad when I only have 5 minutes and need a burst of freshness to compliment my dish. You need to try it!
Table of contents
What is Jajik?
Jajik is a cucumber yogurt salad, and its the way we pronounce it in Iraq. It is super similar to the Turkish word "cacik" and they're very related. Yogurt is a staple in Iraqi and Middle Eastern cuisine in general and we actually serve it plain with main dishes such as carrot rice, tomato rice, or biryani. Sometimes, rather than serving plain yogurt with my main dish, I like to spice it up and serve Jajik. It's also wonderful to serve with grilled meat or even as a sauce for things like tacos.
Steps to making Jajik and how to customize it
Jajik is really easy to customize based on your taste buds and also how you plan to use it. You can adjust the size of the cucumber by either finely dicing it or dicing it more to small sized chunks like in the photo below. You can even grate it if you want to turn this into a dip or sauce rather than a salad.
I love to add fresh garlic to mine but you can skip it if you're not a garlic lover, or you can use garlic powder for a more subtle flavour. You can also herb it up by adding in finely minced parsley, green onion, or dill. This version is my "base" recipe and I add things here and there depending on how I'm serving it.
Here's how to make it:
- Start by washing and drying the cucumber, and using a teaspoon, spooning out the seeds from the middle. This step helps make sure the salad doesn't end up being watery, especially if you're leaving in the fridge for a while to chill
- Finely dice the cucumber (or grate it if you like)
- Mix the yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic and mint. You can use dry or fresh mint and adjust the amount to your liking
- Serve it chilled with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!
For main dishes that go well with Jajik, check out:
Jajik (Cucumber, yogurt & mint salad)
- 1 large English cucumber or 3 small cucumbers roughly 2 cups chopped
- 1 cup whole plain yogurt
- 1.5 tablespoons dry mint or substitute with fresh
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large garlic clove optional
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Wash and dry the cucumber, then using a teaspoon, spoon out the seeds from the inside. This is optional but it ensures the salad doesn't get watery, especially if you're leaving it in the fridge for a while
- Finely dice the cucumber to your desired size. I like mine chunky, but you can adjust this. If you want it to be more like a dip, you can grate the cucumber
- Mix together the yogurt, cucumber, mint, salt, and garlic. Taste and adjust. Raw garlic can have a strong taste, so if you're not a fan you can skip it or use garlic powder for a more subtle taste
- Serve chilled with a drizzle of olive oil
- Fresh garlic is optional in this recipe, but I find it adds amazing flavour. If you're not a huge fan of garlic, I would either skip it or use garlic powder for a subtle taste
- Adjust the size of the cucumber to your liking. You can also grate it to make it more like a dip