Cucumber & Mint Raita
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Cucumber & Mint Raita

Raita is an essential dip or sauce of South Indian cuisine and is often the key to balancing spicy dishes. Typically it is served with spicy dishes such a biriyani to cool the palate and add some freshness. It is also an integral part of regional thalis which are all about balancing flavour and texture. There are many varieties of raita but this recipe is for the most popular kind – cucumber raita. Resembling the Greek dip tzatziki, raita is made up of very similar ingredients but there are subtleties in the flavour of the individual condiments.

Raita is made with dahi, which is a thinner salted traditional Indian curd, whilst tzatziki starts with a thicker plain Greek yoghurt. Tzatziki has much more of a tang also as it is ladened with a good amount of lime juice. Raita on the other hand, is often a little sweeter as the salty yoghurt is sometimes balanced with a bit of sugar, depending on which Indian household you chat to.

Another variable that exists in the world of raita is the consistency; some like it thick whilst others prefer it as pouring consistency. I like a thicker dip to spoon in kebabs and something looser over rice dishes; the type of yoghurt, whether you messed your cucumber or not and how long you leave it to stand will all effect its consistency. As kids, my siblings and I would douse the biriyani that our grandma served us with runny raita, so much so that we’d often have more yoghurt than rice on our plates.

Cucumber & Mint Raita

Cucumber & Mint Raita

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Course: Dips, SaucesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

10

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds

  • 250 g dahi or natural yoghurt

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • thumb-sized piece ginger, finely grated

  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded & coarsely grated

  • 1/2 small bunch mint, chopped

  • 1/2 tso sea salt

  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions

  • To begin, lightly toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until frgrant. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Put all the ingredients into a bowl and roughly mix together.
  • Ideally, place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to mingle. Still delicious served straight away.

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