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Raita (Indian Cucumber-Yogurt Dip)

Raita

This is my new favorite thing. The other day, my friend Laura introduced me to this great little Indian café on Franklin street, and I got Tandoori Chicken, which they served with rice and some yogurty cucumberish stuff that turned out to be raita. All I knew at the time was that it tasted like yogurt and cucumbers and I wanted more of it. So the next day, I googled ‘Indian cucumber yogurt stuff,’ and that’s how I learned that it actually has a real name, and isn’t just called ‘Indian cucumber yogurt stuff.’

I really wanted some, right then, but much to my dismay, I didn’t have yogurt on hand. I did, however, have a quart of kefir, and a fermented milk product is a fermented milk product, right? Anyways, that was my reasoning. (It turned out delicious with the kefir, but it’s probably even better with yogurt, so feel free to use either!)

There’s not really a ‘traditional’ raita recipe, because it exists in many different permutations depending on who’s making it, and where it’s being served. The primary component is yogurt (kefir in my case), and cucumber is usually present, but beyond that, it’s up to the chef. It’s pretty common to add different herbs or spices (I saw mint and cumin used a lot in the recipes I saw online), and some people will add other fresh vegetables, or even fruits. I decided to keep mine simple and go with cucumber, salt, and pepper, but feel free to experiment! (Here’s the raita Wikipedia page to get your creative juices flowing.)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of kefir or yogurt
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • ⅛ tsp white pepper (more or less to taste, but remember – you don’t want this too spicy, especially if you’re eating it with a spicy curry)

Directions

First, peel and grate your cucumber (you can leave the peel on if you really want to). My grater is pretty fine, so I left some of the cucumber out and chopped it into small bits to give the dressing a little more texture. (And I know that my picture shows two cucumbers, and the recipe only calls for one. Don’t fret – I was making a double batch.)

Grate the cucumber

Then, just mix the grated cucumber with all the other ingredients! I put mine in a jar, because that’s what my kefir was in. (Since I moved into an apartment without a dishwasher, I’ve become a pro at minimizing the number of dishes I use for any given task. As a college student, I’m also a pro at making tasty food with minimal effort, and this recipe totally qualifies.)

Jar

Now, go forth and put it on everything! I made some curry-ish ground beef and ate it with that, but I’d be willing to bet it’s good on any kind of spicy meat. (Or just any meat at all, for that matter.) I think it would also be fantastic on a salad. Let me know if you try it! (Especially let me know if you put fruit in yours. I’m very intrigued by the idea of curry + kefir/yogurt + fruit.)

One Thought on “Raita (Indian Cucumber-Yogurt Dip)

  1. Pingback: Is Raita Paleo? | The Paleo Diet Food List

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