Cucumber raita is a delicious cooling agent for when your taste buds are on fire from Indian spices. Though cooling may be the intention of raita, it is also perfectly delicious served alone or with flatbread or chips.
Raita is often referred to as a condiment, but it is quite different than condiments as we know them in Western countries. Raita is used to cool or contrast hot spices in curries and kebabs in Asian cuisines. In India, it is used mostly as a dip and often paired with chips or flatbread along with chutneys and pickles. It is also served alongside meals like Indian mutton curry.
A wide range of seasonings can go into raita depending on the recipe or the region from where it is derived. These include roasted cumin seeds, mint, chaat masala, or coriander.
Gather the ingredients.
Peel and grate the cucumber into a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and stir. Leave to stand for 10 minutes for the salt to draw out excess water from the cucumber
While the cucumber is soaking, pull the leaves from the mint stalks then finely chop.
Place the salt-soaked grated cucumber into a sieve over a small bowl. Press gently with the back of a tablespoon to squeeze out any remaining moisture. Be careful not to press too hard or you risk mashing the flesh of the cucumber into a pulp—it needs to remain firm.
Add the chopped mint leaves, garam masala, and pepper to the thick Greek yogurt and stir.
Add the drained cucumber to the yogurt and spices mix and stir well. Add a little squeeze of lime juice to taste. Serve, or, if not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and pop the raita into the fridge. The raita will keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
- You can make raita with either Greek yogurt or regular yogurt. Greek yogurt will yield a thicker, creamier mixture.
- You may want to try full fat, low fat, or nonfat yogurts depending on any dietary requirements. It is a great way to get more calcium into your diet along with the wonderful benefits of yogurt, which is packed with probiotics as well as vitamin D and calcium.
- Try switching the mint (or adding to it) with finely chopped fresh cilantro for a slight variation of flavor.
- Try using raita as a yogurt-based salad dressing, which incorporates a little creaminess into your salad along with more healthy veggies. It pairs especially well with leafy lettuces, bell pepper, cucumber, and tomato.