Sunday, February 21, 2010

Simple Cucumber Raita

Raitas are yogurt-based condiments/salads common in Indian cuisine. They are often served to counteract and compliment spicy main dishes.

Cucumber raita is one my favorite raitas. The “recipe” is very easy to modify, depending on your own taste preferences. For example, you can use a number of different herbs to flavor this dish, cilantro is quite popular. You can also add in raw minced garlic, onion, and/or chilies for a sharper taste. I happen to love the cool, refreshing combination of cucumber and mint. I frequently use my homemade yogurt to make this. I like to serve it alongside curried chickpeas* for a filling vegetarian meal or as a snack with pappadum.**

11/2 Cups Yogurt, stir the yogurt well to make sure it is very creamy and smooth
1 Large Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 t. Dried Mint (Fresh would be great, but I had some dried on hand)
Sea Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients, refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flavors combine. Enjoy!

*To make curried chickpeas, follow this recipe for chicken curry - -
but substitute 2 cans of drained, well- rinsed chickpeas for the chicken.

**Pappadum are crispy wafers made out of lentil (urad dal) flour. They come in a number of flavors, from plain to garlic to spicy pepper. They are very inexpensive and should be available at all Indian grocery stores. You can fry them in a little oil to crisp them up; I prefer to brown them slightly over the gas flame on my stove-top. Swad is a good brand.

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