Raita is a mild condiment made with curds (yogurt, sour milk) and vegetables like cucumber and or spring onion, mint and coriander-lightly spiced with cumin seeds or jeera powder and chillies. The first time Amma made Raita was after visiting her niece in Durban-who often made Raita with sour milk, chopped mint and red chill-calling it ‘Sour Milk Salad’. Raita is the perfect accompaniment to rice dishes such as Biryani or Pilaf but also compliments very hot curry dishes too.
I first made this Raita recipe a few months ago when my sister visited. Instead of chopping the cucumber I removed the skin then blended to form a puree-this worked quite well –the result was a thick textured Raita which could be spooned. Delicious as it was it may not be the best technique-and not the most visually appealing since most of the cucumber was ground to a pulp.
For this recipe I have peeled then gated the cucumber instead. The result –apart from a still thick texture-the finely grated pieces of cucumber add visual dimension too.
To make Cucumber Raita you will need:
- Half a medium sized cucumber
- 175ml plain yogurt
- Quarter teaspoon finely grated ginger
- Quarter teaspoon jeera or jeera powder
- Quarter teaspoon lemon juice
- Red chilli
- Optional: half a cup of finely chopped mint
1. Start by peeling the cucumber. You can also keep the peel on then grate the cucumber. Add the lemon juice. Allow to rest for 10 minutes so that the lemon juice infuses into the cucumber.
2. Add the jeera, ginger, salt and chilli. (If you are adding mint you can do so here)
3. Add Yogurt-mix until all ingredients are combined.
Optional: Amma often topped Raita with roasted cumin seeds and onion-like she did with Dhal Curry.