Raita – Cucumber herb yogurt sauce

Refreshing raita cools down spicy foods and adds flavor to dishes like curried cauliflower, stewed lentils, roasted eggplant, or spiced lamb kebabs.

Garden of Eating
Cool yogurt and fresh cucumber mixed with herbs and spices provides a complimentary condiment to spicy dishes.

Like it's Greek cousin, tzatziki, raita is a delicious, refreshing combination of yogurt, herbs, cucumber, and either garlic or onion. Its creamy, herb-spiked coolness offers a welcome respite from spicy foods and adds flavor to all manner of curries, roasted vegetables, mezze, grilled meats, and fishes.
As with most things I like, raita is also very easy to make. Spoon out a cup or two of whole milk, plain yogurt (yes, full fat). It can be Greek, it can be Bulgarian, it can be European, it can be good old American, just as long as it's plain and still has all the fat nature intended it to have. Trust me, I've mistakenly made raita with non-fat yogurt and it is but a poor shadow of the full-fat version.
 
Chop up some good, crisp cucumbers. If they're organic and the skins look good, leave 'em on, otherwise, peel them first. You can slice them or dice them into whatever size pieces you like. I usually cut my cukes up into a fairly small dice for raita and tend to cut them into larger half-slices for tzatziki.
 
Add either a little very finely chopped onion (red or yellow or white – whatever you like or have on hand) or a small clove of finely chopped or pressed garlic. I tend to use onion in my tzatziki and garlic in my raita.
 
Then come the herbs. My usual suspects are cilantro, mint, and parsley but don't let that hem you in. Feel free to try some fennel fronds chopped up or some fresh dill. If you're making tzatziki, fresh oregano and dill be a great combination.
 
Then stir it all together, add rather a lot of sea salt and black pepper and stir again. Taste it and adjust, as needed. If you use a Greek yogurt you will probably need to thin it out a little bit with some milk or water.

Then scoop some out to eat with your curried cauliflower, stewed lentils, roasted eggplant, grilled fish, or spiced lamb kebabs and tuck in.

Raita – Cucumber herb yogurt sauce
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups plain, whole milk organic yogurt
1/2 organic cucumber, diced or sliced (your choice)
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
A very generous handful of fresh herbs, chopped – cilantro, parsley, and mint are my favorites
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
A little milk to thin with (optional)

Mix all the ingredients, stir well and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Chill and serve. If you can make this several hours or even a day or two ahead of time, the flavors will be that much stronger.

Related post on Garden of Eating: Spiced Lamb Kabobs With Tomato Jam

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.