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The best raita you'll ever make (page 2 of 2)

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A raita is a liquid salad - yogurt, cucumber, some spices, even the Greeks make it. But a memorable raita needs precise balance of the right ingredients.
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Pour the yogurt into a bowl and coarsely grate the cucumber. Use a knife to cut any pieces that break off into small strips.

Purée ginger and garlic and mix in. Chop the chili and scallions. Reserve some for the decor and mix the rest in. They will provide crunchiness.

Heat cumin seeds in a dry saucepan until they smoke, then reduce to a powder with the peppercorns and salt. Add to the raita.

Leave at least one hour in the fridge before serving so that the flavors combine. This is an extraordinary accompaniment with a curry or tandoor-roasted meats. It provides an explosion of freshness - ginger, garlic, scallions, peppers on a soft, liquid yogurt-cucumber base. Always a success!

Published 12/02/2007
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66 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by parshu.narayanan
  • on: 25/04/2007
Will really go well with peas pulao. I must say Uncle Francois, I'd never heard such an elaborate and delicious raita. My wife's Shahi ( "Royal" ) version of raita is this: Crumbled boiled potato mixed with salted yoghurt + tempering with a tablespoon of heated butter in which whole cumin seeds are browned and a teaspoon of garlic paste lightly fried
  • #2
  • Comment by Suresh Hinduja
  • on: 06/06/2007
That's a perfect recipe. :-)You might want to tinker a bit and add some black salt for a heady aroma.
  • #3
  • Comment by parshu.narayanan
  • on: 14/06/2007
Ha, ha, Suresh-ji, our "kala namak" or "black salt" with its sulphuric flavour may be a somewhat disgusting to Western taste buds. The French term for our Heeng (Asafoetida) is "faeces of Satan" but, hey, it improves the pigeon-peas (arhar dal). Across the civilizational clash, I once made Aubergine Parmesan for my Jaat (Big, burly "jacques bon homme" farming caste) drinking buddies, who delicately pushed away my proudly offered dish, saying "smells like a baby's upchuck"
  • #4
  • Comment by Dindin
  • on: 21/12/2007
Thanks i think its delicious n simple enough to learn.
  • #5
  • Comment by Wotchers!
  • on: 29/12/2007
Sounds great! Where does the lemon get added, please?
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 31/12/2007
You can add the lemon with the ginger.
  • #7
  • Comment by James
  • on: 21/01/2008
What do this go with? Is this same one I ate with Gyros I ordered at the fast food place? What do you eat this with other than gyros?
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 22/01/2008
Raita is Indian, but a close cousin of Tzatziki, the Greek yogourt salad. So you can eat Raita with roasted meats and most curries. Very refreshing!
  • #9
  • Comment by namejerry lapp
  • on: 24/01/2008
Thanks for the easy steps and accompanying pictures. I will make this for an upcoming event this week-end. jerry
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 28/01/2008
Good luck with your raita Jerry!
  • #11
  • Comment by Jen
  • on: 28/02/2008
RE:  Cumin seeds, when you say "reduce to a powder", could that be done with a mortar & pestle, or what?  Not sure i follow, but I am a novice.  Also, just confirming that cumin seeds are AKA coriander, right?
  • #12
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 28/02/2008
Jen, you can grind cumin with a mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder or even a kitchen mixer. Cumin seeds are not coriander seeds. The former are elongated dark brown seeds with a taste reminiscent of anise, while the latter are peppercorn-sized sand-colored little balls. If you like Indian or Middle Eastern food, I recommend you stock up on both and please, don't buy ground spices.
  • #13
  • Comment by Inge
  • on: 03/04/2008
I love Raita and your recipe looks delicious. Will try it out tonight and eat it with Butter Chicken. Mmmmm
  • #14
  • Comment by Neal
  • on: 04/04/2008
I tried this tonight with your Pakistani Lamb Pulao recipe, and it was absolutely perfect. Together, these two recipes make the most thoroughly enjoyable meal I have found on the internet.
  • #15
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 05/04/2008
Neal, thank you so much for your kind words! I am glad to have been able to share these discoveries with you and hope you'll be able to develop your knowledge of the wonderful cuisines of India. You could look at the Quail Egg Curry, which you can definitely make with regular eggs, for a quick-fix but delicious Indian meal.
  • #16
  • Comment by Rosie
  • on: 03/05/2008
Hi - this tops my list for supper tonight - serving Lamb Kofta, Pork Korma and Chicken Tandoori. With banana and mango chutney. Have tamed down the hot spices as I am cooking for  Spanish friends and have no idea what their reaction will be - the raita will be a hit I'm sure.
  • #17
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 04/05/2008
Rosie, this raita is a terrific side dish for any hot food and highly refreshing in the summer. Good luck for your supper!
  • #18
  • Comment by Jamal
  • on: 14/05/2008
Just wondering if I can freeze this....

Thanks!
  • #19
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 14/05/2008
Jamal, you cannot freeze this. Just make it fresh when you need it, it doesn't take much time-
  • #20
  • Comment by prateek
  • on: 17/05/2008
It was nice, I tried!
  • #21
  • Comment by smita
  • on: 26/05/2008
My understanding of 'RAITA'is that it contains Rai which is an indian name for mustard seeds
I used 1/4 teaspoon of grinded rai instead of cumin and no lemon juice.
1/4 tea sppon of sugar makes it a treat...
  • #22
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 04/06/2008
Smita, thanks for the etymology, I would need to check that, some people think Chicken Dopiaza is thus called because you put twice the amount of onion (do piaza) whereas in fact it's the name of a mughlai courtier. But the mustard seeds sound good nonetheless!
  • #23
  • Comment by new cook
  • on: 13/06/2008
Love your photos and the reciepe sounds great. How much cumin and peppercorns do you use?
  • #24
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 21/06/2008
New cook, you should start with a teaspoon of cumin seeds and 4 peppercorns, then taste and correct the balance to your own preference.
This does look like an incredible version of raita. I'm going to try it out tomorrow evening. Lovely photos.
  • #26
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 28/06/2008
Rainbow, thanks for visiting and I hope you get to try this dish!
  • #27
  • Comment by Manu Gupta
  • on: 08/07/2008
This is something I immediately tried at home after reading it inspite of being an indian myself. Great chef great site great recipes.
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 08/07/2008
Manu, thanks for your comment, coming from an Indian gastronome this is praise from Caesar for me!
  • #29
  • Comment by Marty Verdrager
  • on: 12/08/2008
Just ran into your website while looking for a recipe for orgeat - It's real treat to find so
well a documented and illustrated recipe site.  Re: Dosa, I spent some time with a new friend in San Francisco who is an experienced Indian cook from South India. Your recipe for Dosa is great and is exactly as he described the process. We were supposed to have a Dosas lesson but I was called back home to help some colleagues at a critical time, finish a project that we had started together a few months before. Now I'll try Dosa on my own. Congratulations! I'm glad to have found FXcuisine.  
Best,

Marty
  • #30
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 12/08/2008
Marty, thanks for visiting, I'm glad you like my site! The dosa were made by Rick, a fellow reader of FXcuisine. I've never tried them as I don't have a large enough hotpan.
  • #31
  • Comment by El Vee
  • on: 08/09/2008
For the record: Cucumber isn't an "authentic Indian" ingredient in Raita, more of a western addition, as Ayurvedic guidelines state that mixing cucumber and yogurt together is bad for the body.

Nice close-ups though...
  • #32
  • Comment by Bart
  • on: 18/09/2008
This looks like a terrific recipe and very similar to what I've made when I make tzatziki.  One difference is that I always finely grate the cucumber and then squeeze out as much of the water from it as possible using cheesecloth.  This intensifies the cucumber flavor, though bigger chunks would certainly provide more texture.
  • #33
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 18/09/2008
Bart, it's a great idea to squeeze out the cucumber water before using it. Thanks for the tip!
  • #34
  • Comment by mehya
  • on: 10/10/2008
thanks for nice pictures but i need cd for learn cooking
  • #35
  • Comment by Ashwin
  • on: 17/10/2008
Can you bring up a recipe for Boondi Raita... I tend to like it sweet.. And by the way is cucumber raita called as Koshambir in marathi?
  • FX's answer→ Ashwin I am not sure about Marathi but will look for a recipe of Boondi raita!

  • #37
  • Comment by cherie
  • on: 16/01/2009
How much cumin?  This is a hard thing for some of us to guess.
  • FX's answer→ It all depends on your taste, you should add just a little pinch to start, taste, then add more until you are satisfied.

  • #39
  • Comment by Tara
  • on: 09/03/2009
I will keep this recipe forever!!  My husband and I love eating and more recently cooking Indian food.  We have tried many raita recipes from different cook books and websites and could never get the right flavor! Until now!  I love it, so easy and just right! Thanks!
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Tara, glad the recipe made it to your family's cookbook!

  • #41
  • Comment by Ginakhurana
  • on: 16/06/2009
I can't wait to try this recipe tonite. Looks super good. The step by step guide really helps, especially since i'm a novice.

thanks!
  • FX's answer→ Have fun!

  • #43
  • Comment by Baxter
  • on: 29/08/2009
FX - Just made this and it is a great recipe, simple clean flavors.  We will be eating ours as a dip for fresh vegetables this evening.  Thank you for posting the recipe.  
  • FX's answer→ Glad this little recipe enlightened your dinner table!

  • #45
  • Comment by Miranda
  • on: 29/09/2009
This dish sounds wonderful! I am a vegan and I was wondering would it not taste as good if I used soy yogurt?
Thank you.
Miranda
  • #46
  • Comment by derek
  • on: 17/11/2009
This is a nice recipe, and I will try it asap. I am afraid I do not own a blender, so will buy ginger already puree'd.
Would you say a thumb size Ginger would equal a tablespoon or two of the Pre puree'd Ginger?
Does the type of cucumber matter? Yours looks English (?)
Many thanks...
  • #47
  • Comment by Desmond
  • on: 11/12/2009
You Raita recipe looks absolutely delicious...but as I have not made it at all, the recipe does not tell you how much Salt, Cummin Seeds or Back Pepper Corns to put into the dish.  Could you please help as I would dearly love to try this recipe.
  • FX's answer→ Ah that's a difficult question but I'll try. For two cups yogurt I would use 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, a pinch of salt and 4 peppercorns. Then mix, taste and correct the seasoning as you see fit.

  • #49
  • Comment by Kim
  • on: 31/12/2009
I cannot find green chilies anywhere (fresh).  Are they known by any other name?  What can I substitute?  Any place for mint in this recipe?
  • FX's answer→ Kim, mint would make it a Greek version of the same dish, no problem. As for chilies, use those you find that you like. The green chilies just look fine with the other green ingredients, but red ones might add some visual contrast - not a bad thing!

  • #51
  • Comment by Scottie
  • on: 07/01/2010
Don't bother with the cheesecloth to wring out the cucumber, put the grated product into a potato ricer and squeeze.  Works much better.  Do that with potatoes too for a good hash brown/latke :)
  • FX's answer→ Good idea Scottie.

  • #53
  • Comment by Soraida
  • on: 17/01/2010
Hello! Stumbled across your site and fell in love. Such fantastic recipes! Just made the raita last night for an Indian-themed dinner with  friends... absolutely heavenly. Thanks so much for sharing :)
  • FX's answer→ Thanks and have fun, I have 250 recipes on FXcuisine.com.

  • #55
  • Comment by Laurie
  • on: 17/02/2010
I'm trying to lose some el bees (LB's), so used fat free greek yogurt to get the thickness without the fat.  What a wonderful recipe. Thank you!!
  • FX's answer→ Yes this is an el bee adverse recipe, unlike many on FXcuisine!

  • #57
  • Comment by Rob
  • on: 08/06/2010
Fantastic recipe, only thing I added as a bit of salt and it was perfect.
  • #58
  • Comment by palacioski
  • on: 23/09/2010
Me encantan las dos recetas que he leido, me gustaría conocer más de tus recetas. En español si es posible
  • #59
  • Comment by Jay
  • on: 21/10/2010
And the lemon in the ingredients list is for..............?
  • #60
  • Comment by Rahul
  • on: 13/12/2010
I've been making a more simpler version of this raita, with just grated cucumber and onion, mix salt and cumin and you are done. But this one sounds more interesting, will try it next time.
  • FX's answer→ Good luck with your next raita then!

  • #62
  • Comment by zondra dell
  • on: 23/12/2010
I am giving a vegetarian, Indian cooking class (for charity).  I've learned many basic dishes from an Indian friend but I wonder what kind of salad to add to my menu.  Do you think a fatoush salad would fit?  I make mine with sumac - is that an Indian spice? The attendees are very western and this is their first attempt at Indian cooking so I am slightly westerizing things, i.e. a soup starter, a salad course, a curry & a rice dish with a vegetable side dish and an Indian spiced cookie for dessert.
  • #63
  • Comment by Luis
  • on: 25/01/2011
Wow! This looks pretty good and easy to make. I love it with Naan and lamb vindaloo.

Any suggestions as to what kind of low fat meals it should go with?
  • #64
  • Comment by Kaitlyn
  • on: 11/02/2011
Is there any Raita that is Muslim based? I need it for a project. Thanks :)
  • #65
  • Comment by Steve
  • on: 13/04/2011
It was delicious. It went well with our tandoori chicken and basmati rice dish. I almost hate the whole raita by myself; so fresh, crunchy and fragrant!!! Will make it again. Thanks!
  • #66
  • Comment by Soma
  • on: 27/06/2011
I look forward to making my first ratia .I'm sure it will be yummy and it seems easy to make .thank you

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