Saganaki is the name of the traditional heavy Greek frying pan used to cook this firm, salty cheese. A cast iron pan or similar heavy frying pan works well too. Tzatziki is the quintessential Greek dip or sauce. It has endless uses. For a thick, luscious texture, do not skip draining the yoghurt overnight.






Skill level

Average: 3 (6 votes)



  • 100 g kefalotiri or kefalograviera cheese
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon cheeks, to serve


  • 1 telegraph or 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, deseeded, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 g Greek yoghurt
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • additional extra virgin olive oil, to serve
  • pita bread or other flat bread, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Refrigeration time for tzatziki: overnight.

1. To prepare the saganaki, trim the cheese evenly to create a slice approximately 1 cm to 1.5 cm thick.

2. Dip the cheese into water and dust generously with flour.

3. Heat the olive oil in a very small heavy frying pan over low to medium heat – no hotter or the outside will brown before the inside softens. Note: this looks like a lot of oil, but this quantity is needed to evenly fry the cheese.

4. Carefully add the cheese to the olive oil and fry on one side for 3 minutes. Turn and fry for an additional 2 minutes, or until golden. Drain well on kitchen paper. Serve immediately with the lemon cheeks.

5. To prepare the tzatziki, put the cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Place a plate on top and a heavy weight, and refrigerate overnight to drain. Spoon the yoghurt into a fine strainer lined with a piece of muslin, placed over a larger bowl, and refrigerate overnight to drain. Put the garlic and olive oil in a plastic container and leave overnight.

6. The next day, combine the yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and olive oil, and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and lemon juice if desired. Drizzle extra olive oil on top and serve as a dip with pita bread, or as a sauce for souvlaki, dolmades, or cooked meats.

• Kefalotiri and kefalograviera are available from speciality Greek delicatessens. Other hard cheeses such as haloumi could be substituted.