Across the Middle East and Caucasus, thick strained yogurts frequently are used in savory dishes to add tangy, cooling flavors and a creamy texture. Often, they are seasoned quite simply—sometimes with little more than a handful of fresh herbs and garlic—yet they flavor boldly. Fuller-bodied and more tart than sour cream, the yogurt has enough acidity to wake up ingredients, making it the perfect vehicle for a wide variety of spice blends, herbs and other high-impact flavors. These easy stir-together combinations (using thick Greek yogurt, a close approximation to the strained yogurt of the Middle East) make ideal dips for crudités platters and bread. They also can accompany roasted vegetables and meats, rice and beans, or hearty soups and stews.
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