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     Indian Raitas

 

India being a hot country, yogurt is relished at all the meals. Raita is yoghurt seasoned usually with spices like roasted ground cumin or ground black salt along with some herbs. Besides this, there are many unusual ways of flavoring yoghurt. Always use plain yogurt for preparation any raita. Essentially the yogurt has to be whipped or whisked. You can make it with full fat or reduced fat yogurt, then you may add a little water to thin it. Pinch of sugar can be added, especially if yogurt is a little sour. You can add chopped coriander leaves, and sprinkle with red chili powder or paprika.

You can also add other ingredients of your choice. Chopped cucumber or potato, tomato, onion, boiled baby aubergines, blanched strips of spinach, with can be combined with raisins or bhoondi - tiny balls of fried besan or gram flour.

 

 

CUCUMBER RAITA

 

1 cup plain yogurt

½ cucumber, grated or sliced

1 green or red chili, seeded and very finely chopped (opt)

sprinkle cumin powder

black pepper, salt to taste

1-2 springs of coriander leaves,

¼ tomato chopped to garnish

  • In a bowl beat the yogurt.

  • Add the other ingredients mix well and chill.

  • Garnish the raita with a coriander leaves and tomato.

  • Serve as a side dish with roti and as accompaniment to a main dish such as a biryani.   

Raitas are very versatile and have a cooling effect, which will be appreciated if you are serving hot, spicy dishes.

RAITA ANAARKALI (RAITA WITH POMEGRANATE)     (serves 4)

 

2 cups plain yoghurt

1 cup fresh pomegranate kernels

tsp red chili powder

1 tsp ground, roasted cumin

1 medium potato (boiled and cut into slices)

salt to taste

fresh coriander leaves - to garnish

1 tbsp tamarind chutney

  • Beat the yoghurt well till absolutely smooth. Add the pomegranate kernels, salt, cumin seeds and red chili powder.

  • Transfer to a serving dish. Surround the dish with boiled potato circles.

  • Pour a little tamarind chutney on the potatoes slices.

  • Arrange a small bunch of whole coriander leaves in the centre. Garnish with kernels of pomegranate.

 

TOMATO RAITA (serves 2-4)

 

1 cup plain yogurt

1 large tomato, finely chopped

2 tbsp onion finely chopped

pinch of cumin powder

black pepper, salt to taste

1-2 springs of coriander leaves

  

  • Whisk  the yoghurt well till absolutely smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and cumin powder.
  • Combine with the tomato and onion and pour into a serving bowl.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
 

SPINACH RAITA

 

1 cup plain yogurt

12-15 spinach leaves, well washed

pinch of cumin powder

10-15 raisins

a pinch of paprika powder

2 tbsp onion finely chopped

black pepper, salt to taste

1-2 springs of coriander leaves,

  

  • Cut the spinach into fine strips. Boil it with a pinch of salt for 3-4 minutes 1 cup water, then drain.
  • Whisk  the yoghurt well till absolutely smooth. Season with salt,  pepper and cumin.
  • Add the spinach, and raisins.
  • Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle with paprika.
 
 

POTATO RAITA

 

1 cup plain yogurt

1 large potato

pinch of cumin powder

a pinch of chili powder

black pepper, salt to taste

1 tsp chopped coriander leaves

   

  • Boil the potato in its skin with a little salt until cooked.
  • When cool, peel and cut into small cubes.
  • Whisk  the yoghurt well till absolutely smooth. Season with salt,  pepper and cumin.
  • Add the potatoes and stir gently
  • Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle with chili powder and coriander leaves.
 
 

SPICED YOGURT SAUCE

(makes about 2/3 cup)

 

1 tbsp peanut oil

1 tsp ground cumin

3 cardamom pods (seeds only)

tsp paprika

pinch of ground turmeric

2/3 cup (150 ml) yogurt

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)

1 tsp fresh grated gingerroot

salt to taste

freshly ground white pepper

 

  • Combine the oil, cumin, cardamom seeds, paprika and turmeric and cook for 1 minute.

  • Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt, lemon juice, cilantro and finely chopped ginger.

  • Season  to taste with salt and pepper.

  • The sauce ban be served hot with steamed vegetables or cold with hard boiled eggs. It is ideal for neutral food, such as white-fleshed fish.

 

 

 

See also:

 

Masalas recipes>>

Chutney and pickles recipes>>

Spiced oils and vinegars>>

 

 

 

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