raita_3This interesting yogurt concoction from India is a salad, relish, sauce and side dish in one. It is wonderful as a dip for naan, or when made extra thick, can be served as an alternative to potato salad or coleslaw. Raitas are typically served with spicy Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi dishes to cool the heat.

There are infinite variations of this dish, and you can take them in almost any direction you like. There are mainly three types of raitas, vegetable, pluses or legumes, and fruits. All are made in the same manner using yogurt as the base, with a variety of different spices added.

To prepare Cucumber Raita:

Cooks note: I used full-fat yogurt, but you could use low-fat or Greek yogurt. Raita can be made with a variety of fruits and vegetables, and you can adjust the flavors by adding, scallions or green onions, or whatever spices strike your fancy.

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed
  • ½ teaspoon masala powder
  • 3 springs cilantro
  • pinch of sea salt

Peel, seed, and dice cucumber. Toss cucumber with a teaspoon of salt and place in a strainer over a bowl for about a half an hour to remove water. This will keep the raita from becoming to watery. Rinse to remove excess salt.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth and creamy.

Here are some examples of other types of Raitas:

Vegetable: Tomato, Onion, Carrot, Pumpkin, Potato, Mint, Spinach.

Pulses: Sprouted green gram, Boondi.

Fruits: Pineapple, Banana, Mango, Guava, Grape.

Raita prepared very thick with large chunks of vegetables served as a salad.

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