Cucumber Raita

A friend recently asked me to post a simple raita recipe. My unsurprising response to that was: but did you check out the chaas recipe?! For anything you would want to use raita you can just use chaas instead. I am sure if we were having the conversation in person she would have rolled her eyes at me. But instead, I got an email response reminding me that some people may actually prefer raita to chaas. Um, who?

Of course, I am sure that is true. And given that raita is a ubiquitous item on every Indian restaurant menu, I am sure that number is larger than I imagine.

In truth, raita was always the yogurt accompaniment we made when we were having guests for dinner; while chaas was for our every day family dinners. This logic still makes no sense to me given my preference for chaas over raita. But even I only make raita when people come over for dinner, reserving chaas for our regular dinners at home. Old habits do die-hard, as they say.

My mom shreds her cucumber. I prefer that to the chunks of cucumber you sometimes find in restaurants as the flavor of the cucumber permeates through the yogurt. As I have mentioned, my mom does not use onions or garlic in her cooking, but I thought it would be nice to have shredded onion in the raita as well. So I added that as well as a finely chopped tomato.

When I asked my mom for the recipe, I was surprised by the various spices she includes in her raita. But since the spicier the better, I went with it.

We always had this as an accompaniment to a big meal with at least 3-4 dishes, but I use it as a dip for crackers or bread as well.

Recipe

2 c low-fat yogurt

1/3 c shredded cabbage

1/4 c finely chopped cilantro

1/4 c shredded onion

1 small tomato, finely chopped

1/2 t salt

1/2 t sugar (optional)

1 t ground cumin powder

1/4 t ground red chili powder

1/2 T butter or ghee

1 t mustard seeds

Put all the above ingredients except the butter/ghee and mustard seeds together in a bowl. Mix well.  In a separate pan, place butter or ghee over high heat and add 1 t mustard seeds. Wait until mustard seeds are popping and add them to the other ingredients. Mix. This is better made a day ahead of time so the flavors have more time to marry.

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4 Responses to Cucumber Raita

  1. Nasreen says:

    Love Raita. But prefer it simpler…(don’t roll your eyes!) Grated Cucumber (squeeze out the extra water, add to thick bulgarian or greek yoghurt, salt to taste and some chopped green chilli if you like a bit of a kick. Yum!

  2. Yes, that is usually how I make it too, but this version is really nice as a dip with crackers.

  3. Ashmita says:

    Neat.

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