Classic Cucumber Salad with Yogurt, Garlic, and Mint (Cacik or Khyar bi Laban)
from Feast From the Mideast by Faye Levi
Slice, half, dice, or grate 4 Middle Eastern, 2 Japanese, or 1 hothouse cucumber. Dice 1 to 1 1/2 cups tomatoes or red bell peppers or radishes. [Note - I did a mix of tomato and red pepper.] Mince 2 small garlic cloves, and chop 2 tablespoons of fresh mint.
Mash garlic with pinch of salt in bowl, using back of spoon. Add most of the mint (reserving 1/2 tablespoon) and 2 1/2 cups thick yogurt*, plain yogurt, or kefir cheese (labneh). Blend well, thoroughly mixing in garlic mixture.
Fold cucumbers into yogurt mixture, adding a little more yogurt if needed. Fold in tomatoes and/or red bell pepper. Add a little salt and cayenne pepper to your liking.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve sprinkled with remaining mint.
I served this with the Green Herb Kookoo, and it went really well together.
*To thicken plain yogurt, place it in a sieve, strainer lined with coffee filters, or cheese cloth over a bowl and let drain covered with a paper towel and refrigerated. It can drain for 24 hours if you were so inclined, but two hours does wonders. Every hour you drain it, it will thicken up till it becomes texture similar to cream cheese!