Did you know that the cucumber originated in India? It is only fitting that this gourd gets used to add the “cool" factor to Indian cuisine. Here’s to the pitta-placating, palate-cleansing cucumber raita (yogurt dip).
Cucumber raita works well as an accompaniment with any Indian meal of rice/chapatis, vegetables and dal.
- Plain yogurt – 3 cups
- Cucumber – 2 medium-sized
- Green chilies – 1 or 2
- Fresh coriander leaves – a few sprigs
- Ginger – 1/2 teaspoon, grated
- Mustard powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Black salt* (kala namak) – to taste
- Salt – to taste
*Some do not like the slightly sulphurous taste of black salt. If you prefer not to use it, increase the amount of regular salt.
Peel the cucumber lightly. I let some of the peel remain as it adds interesting color and crunch to the raita.
Grate the cucumber. If, like me, you are not a fan of cucumber seeds, do not use the core for the raita.
Squeeze out the water from grated cucumber. Do not discard this nutrient-packed cucumber water – keep it aside for kneading your chapati dough with.
Slit, deseed and finely chop green chilies. Chop coriander leaves.
Whisk yogurt well with salt, black salt and mustard powder.
To make mustard powder: On a hot tava/skillet, dry roast yellow mustard seeds on low flame, till they turn a shade darker and give off aroma. (about 2mins)
Let the mustard seeds cool. Dry grind to powder. You can use a pinch for the raita and store the remaining mustard powder for later use.
Add chopped green chilies, coriander, grated ginger and grated cucumber to the spiced yogurt. Give it a final whisk.
Let cucumber raita rest for about two hours before serving. Refrigerate if you will be serving it later.
My meal: rice, channa masala and cucumber raita.