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raita

This side dish is integral to most Indian dishes. Raitas are refreshing especially when relished with the rich and often spicy main dishes they usually accompany. Beat the heat and still eat spicy and indulgent Indian cuisine with this yoghurt-based refresher.

Raitas and its cousin, lassi are two wonderful creations made for the purpose of cooling one’s system to help counter the intense heat. This underrated side dish can be made using any kind of plain yoghurt – full-fat/low-fat/fat-free. Raitas can be as thick or as watery as you wish. Add water if too thick and add more yoghurt if too thin. While there are endless possibilities with this dish, here are a few simple recipes that one can expand on.

1.Mixed Vegetable Raita

Ingredients

  • Yoghurt – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 (medium), finely chopped
  • Carrot – 1 (large)
  • Cucumber – 1 (medium), peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • Tomato – 1 (medium), deseeded and chopped
  • Chili – 1, chopped
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Black salt and pepper to taste
  • Coriander – 1tbsp

Method

  1. Whip yoghurt till smooth
  2. Add the cumin powder, salt and pepper and mix well.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables and stir well.
  4. Garnish with coriander, cumin, and chili powder.
2.Pomegranate and Mint Raita

Ingredients

  • Yoghurt – 1 cup, whisked till smooth
  • Fresh pomegranate – ¾ cup
  • Mint – ¼ cup, roughly chopped
  • Chaat masala – 1 tsp
  • Black salt and pepper

Method

  1. To the yoghurt, add the masalas, mint and pomegranate.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Garnish with mint and chaat masala
  4. Serve cold.
3.Fried Okra Raita

Ingredients

  • Yoghurt – 1 cup, whisked till smooth
  • Okra – 1 ¼ cup, washed and dried whole and then chopped in ¼ inch slices
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Chili powder – ¼ tsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sunflower oil for shallow frying

Method

  1. Heat oil in a shallow pan or kadai.
  2. Once hot, add half of the cut okra to the oil and fry till crisp.
  3. With a slotted spoon, remove the crisp okra and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  4. Repeat process with the remaining okra.
  5. Add the seasonings to the yoghurt.
  6. Stir well.
  7. Add the fried okra to the cool yoghurt just before serving so that the okra does not get soggy.
  8. Serve immediately
4.Mango Raita

Ingredients

  • Yoghurt – 1 cup
  • Ripe mangoes – 1 ¼ cup, diced
  • Sugar – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Fenugreek – a pinch
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander to garnish
  • Dried red chili – 1
  • Black salt to taste
  • Chaat masala to taste

Method

  • For the Raita
  1. Stir the sugar (optional) into the yoghurt with a spoon till it dissolves.
  2. Add the pieces of mango. Stir gently to combine.
  • For the Tadka (Tempering)
  1. To hot ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds and fry till they begin to crackle.
  2. Add chili and fenugreek seed.
  3. Remove from heat.
  • Assemble
  1. Add the tadka to the mango yoghurt mixture.
  2. Stir well and serve immediately.
  3. Season well.
  4. Garnish with coriander leaves.

 Tip:

  • Make the raita in advance minus the tadka and refrigerate.
  • Make the tadka and add it to the yoghurt just before serving.
5.Onion/ Tomato/Cucumber Raita

Ingredients

  • Yoghurt – 1 cup
  • Onion/ tomato (deseeded)/cucumber (deseeded) – ¾ cup, chopped
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Mix the chopped onion/tomato/cucumber to the smooth, whipped yoghurt.
  2. Add salt to taste and mix well.
  3. Sprinkle the masala powders on the surface of the raita.
  4. Serve cold
6.Mint and Coriander Raita

Ingredients

  • Yoghurt – 1 cup
  • Mint leaves – ¾ cup
  • Coriander leaves and stalks – 1/3 cup
  • Green Chili – 1, chopped
  • Onion – 1/3 cup, finely chopped
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Chaat masala – ½ tsp
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Salt/black salt to taste

Method

  1. Whisk the yoghurt till smooth.
  2. Grind the mint and coriander with a tbsp of water till smooth.
  3. Add the green paste to the yoghurt and mix well.
  4. Season with the powders and masala.
  5. Garnish with coriander leaves, if desired.
  6. Serve cold.

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