Turkish Yogurt Sauce 12.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Book Report Mar 23, 2017

Cookbook author Paula Wolfert learned to make this sauce in Turkey, designed for drizzling on grilled vegetables and meats as well as grain dishes and Wolfert's Megadarra (see related recipe). It is truly a cut above your typical quick yogurt sauce, and it is not difficult to do, but it does require time for draining and flavor infusion.

You’ll notice that water is added later to the drained yogurt; this will make it creamy and help it accept the other flavors. Cheesecloth is needed here.

Make Ahead: The plain yogurt needs to drain for either 10 to 20 minutes (Greek) or 1 to 2 hours (regular, full-fat). The yogurt with garlic mixture needs to mellow for 1 hour at room temperature. The assembled yogurt sauce needs to be refrigerated for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.

12 - 16

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12-16 servings; makes about 1 1/2 cups from greek yogurt and 2 cups from regular yogurt

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt or 1 quart regular plain yogurt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Up to 1/2 cup water
  • Pinch sugar (optional)
  • Up to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • Pinch mild red pepper flakes, such as Aleppo
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled dried mint leaves, plus a few fresh mint leaves, for optional garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, for garnish

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Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into it and let drain (see headnote); it should reduce to the consistency of a thick sour cream. Transfer to a shallow bowl.

Use the flat side of a chef’s knife to crush the garlic. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and mash to form a paste.

Whisk the water into the drained yogurt a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Whisk in the salted garlic 1/4 teaspoon at a time, tasting along the way. If the mixture becomes acrid, stir in the optional pinch of sugar. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Add the lemon juice (to taste) and the red pepper flakes, then season lightly with salt and black pepper. Whisk in the dried mint. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight.

Just before serving, drizzle the oil over the yogurt and garnish with fresh mint, if desired.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life,” by Emily Kaiser Thelin (M&P, 2017).

Tested by Kara Elder.

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