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Wonderfully Refreshing Tarator Recipe to Enjoy on a Hot Summer’s Day

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A beloved cold soup of the Balkans countries, our tarator recipe is a must-try in the heat of summer as a light and refreshing appetizer or side to put a smile on guests at your garden party or barbecue.

Tarator soup decorated with chopped walnuts and fresh dill.

Tarator Recipe

Tarator originates from the Balkans, found in cuisines including Bulgarian cuisine and Albanian cuisine.

Very much a Balkan variation of Greek, Cypriot, and Mediterranean tzatziki sauce, in the Balkans tarator is more commonly eaten as a cold soup in its own right, rather than as a side or dipping sauce, as is more common with tzatziki.

Delightfully refreshing and delicately creamy, with nutty, herby, and zesty notes, rounded off with a glorious garlic kick, summer in the Balkans simply isn’t complete without a bowl of fresh, icy cold tarator to enjoy.

Tarator (up-close photo).

Ingredients

To make tarator soup, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Tarator soup ingredients on a wooden board.
  • Creamy Yogurt – 400 grams (14oz)
  • Cucumber – 1 English cucumber or 2-3 small cucumbers
  • Walnuts – chopped or crushed, 60 grams (2oz)
  • Dill – handful
  • Garlic – 3 cloves, minced
  • Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Water – to taste (we used 160 ml): you want to achieve soup consistency so how much water to add depends on how thick your creamy yogurt is.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Peel and chop the cucumber into small bites. To the bowl with cucumber, add salt, and set aside until ready to mix all ingredients.

Making tarator soup: chop the cucumbers.

Step 2 – Mince the garlic cloves and add the olive oil to the garlic. Let it sit until you’re ready to mix all ingredients.

Making tarator soup: mince the garlic and add the oil to it.

Step 3 – Chop up the walnuts or crush them using a pestle and mortar or a bag and a rolling pin.

Making tarator soup: chopped walnuts in a little glass bowl.

Step 4 – Chop up the dill.

Step 5 – To the cucumber, add the garlic-olive oil mixture, the walnuts (save a bit for decoration on top) and dill (again, save a bit to decorate the top of the bowls).

Making tarator soup (mixing in the cucumber with the garlic, oil, dill, and walnuts).

Step 6 – Add the yogurt and mix everything well. Once mixed, add enough ice-cold water to achieve soup consistency. We used 160 ml (about 3/4 cup) water in our case as our yogurt was really creamy and thick.

Ideally, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes as tarator is traditionally served cold. You can also add ice cubes instead of water if you’re in a hurry. This will make the soup will get very cold within a matter of a minute or two.

Making tarator soup (adding the yoghurt and water).

Step 7 – Serve it in bowls, decorate with crushed walnuts and dill, and enjoy this light, creamy and refreshing cold soup as it is, or with a range of sides.

Making tarator soup (the soup is now decorated with walnuts and dill).

Tarator is such an enticing dish to lay eyes on. The milky white soup speckled with dashes of green and brown from the crushed walnut and chopped dill is like an abstract painting of nature it’s so beautiful.

Tarator soup is ready to be served.

Cold soup dishes are prolific throughout the Balkans, and you truly are in for a treat if you’ve never tried a cold soup on a hot summer’s day.

Tarator is as wonderfully refreshing as an icy cold soda when you’ve been out in the sun, yet is as filling and nourishing as a rich, hot soup or stew on a cold winter’s evening.

What to Serve with Tarator

Try it with a couple of slices of bread, pita, a side of grilled vegetables, or some fried seafood to take the dish to a whole new level of taste sensation, and enjoy!

Making tarator soup (final photo up close of the bowls of soup).

Tarator Recipe Card

Tarator

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • Creamy Yogurt – 400 grams 14oz
  • Cucumber – 1 English cucumber or 2-3 small cucumbers
  • Walnuts – chopped or crushed 60 grams (2oz)
  • Dill – handful
  • Garlic – 3 cloves minced
  • Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Water – to taste we used 160 ml or about 3/4 cup: you want to achieve soup consistency so how much water to add depends on how thick your creamy yogurt is.

Instructions

  • Peel and chop the cucumber into small bites. Put the cucumber in a bowl, add salt, and set aside until ready to mix all ingredients.
  • Mince the garlic cloves and add the olive oil to the garlic. Let it sit until you’re ready to mix all ingredients.
  • Chop up the walnuts or crush them using a pestle and mortar or a bag and a rolling pin.
  • Chop up the dill.
  • To the cucumber, add the garlic-olive oil mixture, the walnuts (save a bit for decoration on top) and dill (again, save a bit to decorate the top of the bowls).
  • Add the yogurt and mix everything well. Once mixed, add enough ice-cold water to achieve soup consistency. We used 160 ml (about 3/4 cup) water in our case as our yogurt was really creamy and thick.
  • Ideally, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes as tarator is traditionally served cold. You can also add ice cubes instead of water if you’re in a hurry. This will make the soup will get very cold within a matter of a minute or two.
  • Serve it in bowls, decorate with crushed walnuts and dill, and enjoy this light, creamy and refreshing cold soup as it is, or with a range of sides.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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top down shot of tarator - a cold Bulgarian soup - in a bowl on a wooden table

Contributor: Efimia is a home chef, who has been putting smiles on the faces of her friends, family, and loved ones with her home cooking for over 40 years and counting.

Author: Doina is a passionate home cook and content writer who, growing up in Moldova, is well versed in a wide array of foods and dishes from Eastern European and Balkans cuisines.

Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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