Raita is a simple relish most often found in Indian cookery. It is very easy to make yet with hot food or rich curry it is cooling and seems to enhance spiced flavours.
Although this is a condiment from India that works beautifully with a big Indian curry it is equally good with stirfried vegetables and chilli or other hot spicy dishes. Don’t typecast it though because it also works perfectly with a roasted vegetable and couscous salad adding a creamy dressing element without adding extra calories. It’s extra good with a bowl of pumpkin soup or a stew. There’s really no rules. Try it with my Tray baked Butter Chicken
Raita couldn’t be any easier, in fact, its probably one of the simplest accompaniments you could make. It can be whipped up in minutes and that’s my kind of side dish. It’s just cutting and mixing to get the most wonderful creamy relish. There are many variations on the method for Raita but I like to keep it simple.
- and 2. Cut a cucumber in half and scrape the seeds out then slice into sticks
3. Cut the cucumber into dice.
4. Use a grater to mince up the garlic
5. Add the yoghurt, cucumber and garlic to a bowl
6 and 7. Adding cracked black pepper and salt adds extra depth to the Raita
8. Flatten out mint leaves and slice them to add to your Raita. You could add chopped coriander if you like too.
9. Once the mint is mixed in the Raita is ready go. It will keep for 2 to 3 days but it’s best eaten the day it is made.
Other ways to make Raita
I use thin skinned sweet Lebanese cucumbers but you can use other cucumbers. This is a great relish if you have a bumper crop of fat thick skinned cucumbers. Just peel them, remove the seeds and grate, squeezing out some of the excess water before carrying on with the recipe. You can also add more or less garlic and spices are the go in here too. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin or 1/2 a teaspoon of ground garam masala.
Some people add lemon or lime but I prefer the cool creamy taste of Greek style yoghurt without the addition of lemon. If you can only get your hands on mild almost sweet plain yoghurt then add a Tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Just don’t use sweetened yoghurt or this will be a great disappointment
Some people prefer to add cooked garlic. You can do this by mincing the garlic and cooking it lightly in oil in a frypan. I actually prefer just a bit and for it to remain fresh. The cooked garlic tastes a little like store bought relish to me, but hey that’s all up to you. Try my version first and see.
Try these condiments too:
Raita. Cucumber and garlic relish
- 250 gm greek yoghurt plain
- 1 clove garlic crushed or grated
- 150 gm cucumber Lebanese soft skinned cucumbers approx 1 large
- 1/4 bunch mint about 12 leaves,
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Cut the Lebanese cucumber down the centre longways and scrape out most of the seeds with a teaspoon. Discard the seeds. Please see below for other an explanation of other cucumbers for this condiment
- Cut the cucumber into thin strips and then into small dice and put into a bowl.
- Add grated or crushed garlic to the cucumber
- Add yoghurt, pepper and salt. Stir well and taste. it should taste nice and creamy and lemony with a nice hint of salt.
- Flatten the mint leaves on a chopping board and slice finely (chiffonade). Add this to the yoghurt and mix through
- The Raita is ready to use on hot curries, stirfries or sauces. It's cooling and adds a nice lemony flavour. See notes below for variations