cacik by irem aksu

“Cacik – according to Ahmet Rasim- is one of the “sine qua non” of Raki mezze tables of Istanbul. The main ingredient of Cacik is yogurt and cucumber. No water should be added to yogurt but garlic is a must. Cucumber should not be grated, but chopped finely. Topping it with olive oil and dill, and sometimes mint as well. For Cacik, Langa’s* glorious huge cucumbers could be the best”… Raki Gastronomy.”


  • 1 cucumber – unpeeled, chopped 
  • 1-2 garlic cloves – smashed with pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt OR grated (you can reduce or increase the amount of garlic depends how you like it)
  • A medium bowl of thick yogurt
  • A good pinch of salt 
  • Extra virgin olive oil – for the mixture and the top
  • A few dill springs
  • An ice cube before you serve it – do not put more as it waters the cacik



Add about 2 tablespoon of olive oil in the yogurt and mix until you get a smooth texture. Add smashed/grated garlic into the bowl. Mix well. Set aside. In the meantime chop your cucumber in cubes, or half moons. Add cucumbers into the garlic yogurt, add salt and combine them. Set it in the fridge for a few hours. Before serving add some dill springs, drizzle of olive oil and an ice cube on top.


* Langa used to be a large field (bostan) provided mainly cucumbers and other vegetables to the local Istanbulites over centuries which was in between Yenikapi and Laleli neighbourhoods. Later the field has become more and more residential area. Those large, juicy cucumbers are still described as like Langa ones by the older generations in Istanbul.


*the recipe is created for Meyhane Elsewhere by Istanbul Elsewhere – is a cultural project exploring acts of ‘Istanbuliteness’ .