How to make tzatziki that's garlicky, but not TOO garlicky....

I love a tzatziki (or any tzatziki-style sauce for that matter) that has some of that wonderful garlic zing, but I'm struggling to find the right amount that adds flavor but doesn't overwhelm. I'm currently using one raw clove finely chopped added to about a cup of plain full-fat yogurt, with plenty of fresh dill and maybe a squeeze of lemon. It tastes great at first, but its power makes itself known - unpleasantly - the next morning when you wake up feeling like you've grown a garlic garden in your mouth. Suggestions? Has anyone tried roasting the garlic first, or doing anything else to reduce its potency but not its flavor?

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14 Comments

Exbruxelles March 27, 2018
As creamtea says, mince and then mash the garlic into a paste. (A mortar and pestle are perfect for this--also for making salad dressing) Add a little garlic, and let the tzatziki set for while. If you need more, add more--garlic mashed in salt will last for quite a while. You can always add garlic; it's notoriously difficult to take it out.

And while it certainly mellows the flavor and I love it for lots of applications, I probably wouldn't use roasted garlic for this. The flavor profile wouldn't work for me, but thankfully we all have different tastes. For me tzatziki needs a little bite...but it shouldn't hurt.
 
Lost_in_NYC March 26, 2018
Depending on the size of your clove of garlic, I would think that its too much for just 1 cup of yogurt (its isn't a lot to be honest) which could be why the taste is so strong. If you're only making 1 cup at a time, I'd definitely cut down (maybe do a baby clove or only half if medium/big) and follow some of the suggestions mentioned by others above.
 
MMH March 24, 2018
I change my recipe all the time. But, When I grate and salt English cucumbers and drain them I like the way it changes the flavor and texture and mellows the garlic.
 
Salt T. March 25, 2018
Ah, yes, I should definitely try adding cucumber - and thanks for reminding me to salt and drain them!
 
MMH March 26, 2018
Use so me lemon zest also
 
creamtea March 24, 2018
1) You can mince the garlic, then mash with a small pinch salt. This rounds out the flavor. Use either a small clove, or a half-clove, for milder flavor.
2) when my daughter had reflux issues, I used to blanch garlic cloves in simmering water briefly before mashing them. This gives you a very mild flavor.
 
Salt T. March 25, 2018
Blanching, interesting - never would have thought of that! Thank you!
 
Nancy March 24, 2018
If you minimize cutting the garlic clove (e.g. cut in half instead of grating) or time in the dip (leave only a few hours and remove), the strength of garlic flavor will be reduced.
Yes, roasting will make the garlic sweeter.
 
Salt T. March 25, 2018
ha, this is such a simple, elegant solution, I can't believe I didn't think of it. duh! I did notice that the amount of time it sits, the stronger the taste gets, but silly me didn't just think of an easy way to remove the garlic at a certain point. Thanks!
 
amybanana March 24, 2018
use less garlic
 
BakerBren March 24, 2018
I like a combination of both fresh garlic for bite and also the mellower deeper flavor from roasted garlic. But my quick trick that I use: put the minced garlic in a ramekin with about 1Tbs of olive oil and microwave it for 30 seconds. It just takes the edge off the garlic and infuses the oil. Add all of it to your tzatziki. If you still want bite, reserve some of the fresh minced garlic before doing this trick and vary the ratio of cooked/uncooked until you're satisfied.
 
Salt T. March 25, 2018
Excellent, can't wait to try this - thank you!
 
dinner A. March 24, 2018
Try squeezing some lemon over it as you're chopping it and letting it steep in lemon for a few minutes. The strong acid will prevent the garlic from developing the hotter, more biting flavor which I suspect is what is more lingering, but you will still get a nice, fresh garlic flavor. The yogurt is probably not strongly acidic enough to do this itself. More about the science behind this here: https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/03/the-food-lab-how-to-make-great-hummus.html#garlic

Also, if your clove has any beginnings of a sprout inside it, remove that. It doesn't seem to matter if the garlic is cooked, but when raw I think it is more pungent.
 
Salt T. March 24, 2018
ooh, great - thank you so much!
 
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