Cucumber Raita (Cucumber in Yogurt)

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An Indian meal is not complete without a yogurt dish or plain yogurt. Yogurt is a great accompaniment to the spicy curries and serves as a palate soother. It completes the meal by providing protein and probiotics.
Raita is basically yogurt or buttermilk mixed with a combination of fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, herbs and seasonings. Most popular Raitas are Cucumber Raita, Potato Raita and Boondi Raita. I usually pick a seasonal ingredient for my Raita or a vegetable that has not been used in the accompanying meal. The ratio of yogurt to vegetable is totally subjective as is the consistency. Many of the flavoring ingredients in these Raita recipes are optional, as long as you have yogurt and a fruit or vegetable to add to it. 
Serve Raita as a side dish with baked chicken or fish! It is great with Shahi Lamb Curry.

ingredients:
1 cup plain yogurt 
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, grated or finely chopped (see notes)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. toasted cumin powder (see notes)
1/8 tsp. paprika or cayenne pepper (optional)
few coriander or mint leaves, chopped

notes:
English or Armenian cucumber does not need to be peeled.
If making ahead of time, add salt just before serving to keep cucumber from releasing water and turning limp.
Dry roast cumin seeds in a skillet until they start to change color and turn fragrant. Grind into a coarse powder.

Season Raita with ‘Tadka’ by frying a combination of spices like mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin, dried chilies and asafoetida in 1/2 teaspoon oil and pouring it over  Raita just before serving.

preparation:

  • Whisk yogurt in a bowl, breaking up any lumps. 
  • Stir in cucumber, salt, sugar, cumin. 
  • Pour into a serving bowl, garnish with mint leaves.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings and serve.

Copyright © Rashmi Rustagi 2012. All Rights Reserved.