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Tyrokafteri (‘hot cheese’)

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Prep time: 10 minutes

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Side Dishes, Starter, Vegetarian

About this recipe

Tyrokafteri combines two Greek words: ‘tyro’ means cheese and ‘kaftero’ means ‘hot’, which in this context refers to taste, not temperature. This is fiery spicy hot. It is supposed to (somewhat) blow your head off. In my recipe there is a combination of cultures too, as it features gochujang; this Korean chilli paste is fermented and gives a savoury, slow-burning heat. But as a nod to the hot sauce paradigm, I have also added cayenne pepper for a little extra fire. Traditionally, tyrokafteri is served as a dip. I however prefer to use it as a sauce for pasta, which feels like a homage to the spaghetti carbonara in the film Heartburna story of relationship pain not so dissimilar to my client’s that inspired this dish. You might feel some burn when you eat this, but it won’t be of the heart kind.

The inspiration for this recipe is ‘Some like it hot. Some like it to hurt.’

  • 200g feta 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons full fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons gochujang chilli paste 
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice 
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • ¼ teaspoon honey 
  • Dried chilli flakes to sprinkle 

If you want to use this as a sauce for hot pasta it is best to use Greek yogurt with a higher fat content, to prevent splitting – I use one that has 10% fat.

  1. Break up the feta into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until it breaks down into medium-sized chunks.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until combined. The finished dip can be as smooth or as chunky as you like – I quite like mine to have fragments of feta. Sprinkle with chilli flakes before serving with the carb of your choice.

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