Middle Eastern Food is healthy, low fat, and fabulous. The following two sauces are used often with Middle Eastern kabobs, meats, and chicken dishes, as well as on sandwiches. Both sauces can be made ahead, but they are both quick and easy, so if you decide to serve a Middle Eastern dish at the last minute, they can be put together while your main dish is cooking.
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
This sauce is very similar to the Greek Tzatziki which is often served on Gyro sandwiches and Greek souvlaki platters. It can be used interchangeably with recipes calling for it.
1 medium cucumber
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed, (if using for fish), (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 green onion, finely chopped, (optional)
Peel the cucumber, then grate it either on a hand grater, or use your food processor to save time. Put the grated cucumber in a wire strainer, and with the back of a spoon, press as much liquid out of the cucumber as you can. Mix the drained cucumber with the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper, cayenne, and green onion. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, but up to two days.
Serve Cucumber Yogurt Sauce with falafel, gyro, grilled or poached fish, shawarma, or as a spread on Greek or Middle Eastern sandwiches.
Middle Eastern Garlic and Tahini Sauce
3/4 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3 cloves garlic, minced (I prefer less, as too much can get bitter, but in Middle Eastern Restaurants, they use more)
1/4 -1/2 cup lemon juice, (to taste)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup water, approximately
Whisk the tahini, salt, garlic, and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Add the parsley and more lemon juice to taste. Whisk in the water, adding enough to make the sauce a creamy texture. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, but up to a week.
Serve Middle Eastern Garlic and Tahini Sauce with Middle Eastern kabobs, Gyro, Souvlaki, Shawarma, or as a spread for sandwiches.