For anyone who is really into cheese this dip is like a dream come true! This traditional Greek dip mainly consists of one of the most popular ingredients in Greek cuisine: feta! Tirokafteri really has everything you could ask for: creaminess, spiciness, saltiness and cheesiness – I mean, it’s already all in the name… ‘Tirokafteri’ simply is a combination of the words ‘tiri’, meaning cheese, and ‘kafteri’ meaning spicy / hot. Not only is it delicious – I honestly can’t decide whether I like this, or the ever-so-popular Tzatziki more – but it’s incredibly easy to make at home!
Besides having to wait for the sweet pointed red pepper to blister in the oven and peeling it after, all the other ingredients just need a quick blitz in a food processor, so you can have the dip ready to be served in a jiffy! Some people like to add other cheeses to their tirokafteri, such as mizithra, but I like to keep mine relatively basic by using only feta. I do like to add a bit of Greek yoghurt to make the dip a bit runnier and tart. I also suggest to warm up the feta in the oven a little bit before putting it in the food processor as I find it helps with the overall consistency and creaminess of the dip. To be honest though, not many recipes call for this step and if you’re in a hurry you can simply crumble the cheese into the foodprocessor.
The level of spiciness of your tirokafteri is up to you, but you really cannot make this dip without any spicy element – it is a spicy cheese dip after all! My recipe calls for both fresh chili peppers and a heaping teaspoon of dried red chili flakes since I do like my spicy food to really pack a punch… Do you prefer to be a bit tamer with the spice? Only use the dried red chili flakes, or half a fresh chili.
As you can see, I used a green chili pepper whilst taking the photographs for this post, but you can use a regular red chili pepper, or jalapeño as well. I just use these green ones because I really like their flavor and we took home a huge stash from the garden in Naxos after our summer holidays… Naturally, we did the same with some huge chunks of Naxian cheese!
This dish can be served at the dinner table as an appetizer, or alongside other dishes, but it also does really well as a meze with drinks! It’s best served with some crusted bread, warm pita, or crispy raw veggies to scoop up the dip.
Tirokafteri / Τυροκαυτερή (Greek Spicy Feta Dip)
- 500g feta
- 1 sweet pointed red pepper
- 100g Greek yoghurt
- 50ml good quality olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 green, or red chili pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes / boukovo
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- When the oven has reached its temperature, place the sweet red pepper in an oven dish and put it into the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the skin starts to blister. For the final 5 minutes of roasting the red pepper, place the chunk of feta into the oven dish with it, just so that the cheese warms up and softens slightly. This step will make it easier to process the cheese later and create a smooth texture
- When the skin of the pepper starts to blister, take it out of the oven and let it cool down slightly. When the pepper has cooled down enough to handle, remove as much skin from the pepper as possible.
- Finally, crumble the feta into a food processor, followed by all other ingredients listed. Process everything until relatively smooth and creamy.
- Serve tirokafteri on a flat serving dish and sprinkle on some extra olive oil and dried red pepper flakes to decorate.