Cucumber Raita is just the sort of cooling, contrasting creamy, delicious condiment that is needed with Indian food or with your summer grilling. Although this recipe gives summer vibes, I suggest you keep this recipe handy for making all year along!
WHAT IS RAITA?
Is this a dip or a sauce?! I can never make up my mind! Raita (or raitha) is a condiment that is usually served with Indian dishes, most commonly with biryani, pulao, roti (flatbread) or any Indian meal. This simple dish holds a place of great importance in the Indian meal scene - both for flavour and health. The yogurt and the spices have a cooling effect on spicy food and also aid in digestion.
Raita is what it is called in the Northern parts of India while in the Southern parts of the country, it has other names - Thayir Pachadi in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala; Perugu Pachadi in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. A basic raitha is made of yogurt, mild spices, fresh herbs (most commonly fresh coriander leaves) and vegetable/ fruit of choice or which are in season. Tomato; spinach; onion; pomegranate or beetroot raitha being most common.
Have you made raita before? Do share with me on Instagram and Facebook. I would love to hear from you.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RAITA AND TZATZIKI?
Although both Raita and Tzatziki have few similarities - they both are made with yogurt and have fresh herbs and spices, they are quite different from each other in flavours. Here are some of the differences:
|Thicker consistency||Thinner consistency|
|Requires lemon juice||Lemon juice is not added to raita|
|Flavourings: Olive oil. garlic and salt||Flavourings: Roasted cumin powder, paprika, salt|
|Has added oil||Has no added oil|
ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR A GOOD RAITA
Fresh Spices: I make small batches of roasted cumin powder at home. Fresh ground spice really is a game changer in this recipe! Some people also add chaat masala.
Check out my video on how to make roasted cumin powder at home. It is easy!
If you do have the time to make it or have exhausted your stock of it, use can regular cumin powder.
Fresh Herbs: Using fresh herbs in a raita is absolutely essential for best taste. Please do not use dried herbs - they do not work well in this recipe. I have used fresh coriander leaves.
The other herbs that work well in a raita are mint and dill. As I am writing this, I am thinking that the green part of spring onions (scallions) will taste great too! (I must try it soon.) You could also use a combination of fresh herbs.
Have you tried using spring onions or a combination of herbs? Do let me know in the comments below. I am excited to know!
Cucumber - chopped or grated? I like it finely chopped and that is because I love the crunch of chopped cucumber against the cool yogurt and the heat of the chopped chillies. If you so prefer, grate the cucumber. When feeding it to young children, grating the cucumber is definitely a better option and it will give the raita a sauce like consistency. Just remember - squeeze out the water from the cucumber after grating. Otherwise the raita will become too watery.
Here is how I cut my cucumber:
Season well: This is such a simple recipe and therefore every ingredient counts! There are only 3 spices that we are using - salt, roasted cumin powder and ground red chilli. A raita that is not well seasoned can taste quite "hollow"!
WHICH TYPE OF YOGURT TO USE?
Traditionally raita recipe calls for thick curd. The juice from the cucumber mixes with the thick curd, giving the raita a sauce like consistency which is perfect for scooping up with a piece of bread or naan. Thick and creamy yogurt therefore works best.
Greek yogurt does a great job of replacing thick curd. Please DO NOT use low fat yogurt for this recipe. It will A) rob the raitha of its rich, creaminess and B) make the raita too runny.
MAKING THIS CUCUMBER RAITA RECIPE
This recipe comes together in under 10 minutes and is such a saviour side or relish for a busy weeknight dinner!
- Start by chopping the cucumber into small pieces and put them in a large bowl.
2. Chop the green chillies and coriander leaves and add them to the bowl.
3. Add the spices - bhuna jeera, ground red chilli and salt. Mix.
4. Add the yogurt. Mix well. Served cold.
Note: Sprinkle some roasted cumin powder additionally on each serving for that extra pop of flavour and crunch.
PRO TIPS AND NOTES
- Raita tastes best when fresh. It just taste great chilled and that means keeping it in the fridge for an hour or two till the rest of the meal is ready. Raita, ideally, should be consumed within a day.
- If you want to make the raita, say, a day ahead, then do all the prep work i.e. chopping the cucumber and chillies the day before. Keep the spices, herbs and yogurt measured and in separate containers and store them in the fridge. Mix all of these together just before serving.
- This being cucumber raita, I have used cucumber only. If you so like, you may add any or all these as well: finely chopped onions; finely chopped tomatoes; grated carrot (1 small would do for the proportions of this recipe)
- Fresh herbs: I have used only coriander leaves in this recipe. If you like, you may add mint as well.
- In this recipe I have used Greek Yogurt. If you do not have Greek Yogurt, you may use any other full fat thick yogurt. Keep in mind that the yogurt should not be sour.
NUTRITION VALUES (APPROXIMATE) OF CUCUMBER RAITA
Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 10.2g||13%|
|Saturated Fat 7.9g||40%|
|Total Carbohydrate 5.7g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 0.4g||1%|
|Total Sugars 1.1g|
|Vitamin D 0mcg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.|
HOW TO SERVE RAITA
Raita is a quintessential part of an Indian meal. The yogurt not only adds its distinctive tanginess to the dish, but also helps in digestion. Raita tastes best when cold.
Here are a few suggestions of serving this raita as part of your meal:
Fusion meal ideas for a quick weeknight dinner:
- Pair it with this incredibly flavoursome Moroccan inspired Vegan Couscous Salad.
- Make a delicious meal with this Mediterranean inspired No Yeast - Spicy Flatbread, some hummus and a fresh salad.
- Make a sandwich or a wrap with tortilla with this raitha and a quick and simple spinach stir fry together as a filling.
Indian meal ideas:
- Make a filling meal with Gluten Free, Grain Free Roti (Flatbread); Tender Okra Fry; Pickled Carrots and Daikon Radish .
- A combination of this incredibly aromatic Vegetable Pulao and the comforting Mung Beans Curry will make a hearty meal that will keep you going for hours!
- If you are thinking of a meal for your little one, then pair the raitha with this jeera rice for babies and aloo matar gravy
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. In short this Raitha will make any meal an immensely satisfyingly one!
Have you tried the raitha in any of the combinations that I have suggested above or have you come up with your own unique combination? Or have you had the raitha on its own as a snack? Do share with me in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.