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tangy raita

May 31, 2010

It all started with an sms from the Bean.

“Cherlie…” the message began (for that is what she has dubbed me), “can we have Indian for dinner tonight?”

And like that, it hit. The craving for spices. The tang of yoghurt. The tender crunch of a freshly cooked dosai.

But, alas, there was no Indian to be seen in the vicinity of where we were meeting, and the cravings went unanswered.

serve with spicy goodness

But more-the-fool I, for I had almost completely forgotten that I had a true partly-Indian specimen sitting right under my nose. And one that had promised (for months even!) to teach me about the spices and the techniques involved in making the food that his mother grew up with.

“We’ll make a few different things,” he said to me whilst scouring the aisles for fresh cardamom pods “like curry, and vegetables, and briyani.”

And I was thrilled. Not just because I’d have been far too complacent to set out on this journey of my own accord, but also because I’d have a very-tall-boy to guide me along the path.

deseeding the cucumbers

tangy raita

(an original, and possibly not-perfectly-authentic recipe by shez)

Here’s a quick & simple recipe to get us started on our intermittent Indian journey. Raita is an Indian condiment that is served alongside dishes such as biriyani. Because it’s main component is yoghurt, it’s fantastic for dolloping on particularly spicy dishes as the dairy component helps to cool the tongue (and hopefully prepare it for another burst of spice!)

Whilst a more traditional raita uses coriander as its primary herb, I’ve chosen to go with mint for that extra cooling effect. This recipe will make approximately one cup.

you will need:

200ml natural yoghurt
1/2  telegraph cucumber
2tbs fresh chopped mint leaves
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
black pepper

how to do it:

(optional pre-step: tip your cumin into an unoiled pan and heat slowly, moving around from time-to-time over a low heat to release the fragrance of the spice & give it soem extra oomph)

1. Cut your cucumber in half lengthways and scoop the seeds out with a teaspoon.

grated cucumber and mint

2. Grate the cucumber using the coarse holes of your grater into a bowl. Gather the cucumber in your hands and squeeze the liquid out! When the cucumber bits hold in a ball shape without falling apart, you’ve squeezed enough liquid out.

3. Add the cumin, mint, black pepper and yoghurt to your bowl. Zest half a lemon into the bowl and then add the lemon juice.

add the yoghurt and lemon zest

4. Mix gently to combine, and then more vigorously to form a lovely smooth, albeit bitty, raita.

5. Serve with the hottest curry you can find. It’ll cool your tastebuds right down.


  • #1
    May 31st, 2010

    Zesty. Apparently curry makes you turn bright awesome. Or pink. I forget which one. Or maybe that’s wine. Anyway, nice post. I like a little zest in my life. Skirts. Keep up the good work.

  • #2
    June 1st, 2010

    i love raita, and i especially love piling lots of it onto biriyani, cant wait to see your post on biriyani! my workmates wife will pack me a container everytime she makes it and its really.. the best ever rice ive ever had, must be the lots of ghee she uses though… hehe

  • #3
    June 1st, 2010

    I haven’t had curry in the longest timmmeeeee >_< why did you have to bring it uppp 😛 hee hee

  • #4
    June 1st, 2010

    Oh, now I want some curry. this sounds delicious!

Shez