Cool yogurt and cucumber salad: Fighting the heat
Yogurt, 2 Cup whole milk
Cucumber, 3 Japanese variety, finely chopped
Garlic, 1 Clove, optional
Mint, optional but great
zatar, 1 tbsp optional instead of the mint
Materials and Methods
Yeah, sometimes we bit more than we can chew.. specially with hot foods
Sources of heat
I have to let you in a secret: I like spiced food; and a bigger secret: A LOT!
But rest assured that my carvings are not for only heat.. but for the fresh taste of hot pepper. I’d rather have a very tasty pepper that is mild than a extra hot one.. every single day.. almost every single day.. most days at least.
Naming matters: In English (and in Portuguese) we call 2 kinds of things pepper: Piperaceae (like black pepper) and Solanaceae(like bell and hot peppers ).. French call one Poivre and the other Piment to distinguish both.
I will let the piperaceae for another post(specially Poivre Vert).
The solanaceae are funny family pretty much like every family some bad elements some good. The whole family solanaceae is named after the deadly nightshade(belladonna) plant, members of the family include mandrake and jimson weed.. scary, right?
Other members are potatos and tomatos..
So when I call pepper I mean the solanaceae.
The role of milk
Capsaicin is what gives the hot to peppers. Casein present in (you guessed) daily products has a detergent effect on it.
I always considered that capsaicin was fat soluble based on empiric experimentation.. Same pepper on oil is stronger than it on vinegar or cachaca; Frying fresh peppers also makes them more potent.. funnily enough Wikipedia article does not mention it
This “salad” if it can be called salad is a version of greek/lebanese/indonesian(slash you name the culture that had to deal with hot and spicy food and uses yogurt) trick. Yogurt and cucumber are both great on reducing the feeling of a burning thong.
I prefer to use whole milk yogurt instead of skimmed.. I still believe that the fat helps somehow.
Easy solutions for easy dishes
As I want a more saladish texture, instead of having something in the line of a dip, I drain both the yogurt and the cucumber.
The yogurt is easy. Just line a bowl with a cheese cloth or a clean napkin (the cheese cloth should be clean also :) ), pour the yogurt on its center. Take care to lift it making a package so that the yogurt will not slip through
Hang it with with a bowl under to catch the whey drips.
Finelly chop the cucumber and the garlic (optional) and salt it move to colander or sieve and hang it over another bowl.
Drain, Do something else, Mix and Serve
Leave both the cucumber and the yogurt draining for as long as you might want (withing reason.) the more you leave it more more gooey it will become.
Here is my rule of thumb: prepare it and leave it draining, cook whatever else you are cooking, If what you are making takes more than 45 minutes I mix the salad and refrigerate it.
The liquid on the left is the leftover of cucumber liquid and whey after a half and hour draining.. it has that awful color of something that is probably good for you.
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