Raita

cucumber-tomato raita

There’s a pretty interesting Indian community in Paris and I’ve taken to walking around areas in Paris like La Chapelle and rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, poking my nose into noisy restaurants and trying to figure out what those colorful and oddly shaped fruits and vegetables at the produces stalls are. There’s all sorts of stuff in those shops and I’m particularly taken with something that’s green and leafy – about one meter (about 3 feet) long – that I can’t figure out what anyone would do with it, let along try to navigate getting it home through the sometimes difficult to navigate sidewalks of Paris. But I’m too timid to ask.

But I was not too timid to accept an invitation into the kitchen of Beena Paradin, who heard my plight as I’ve been trying to recreate Indian dishes at home, with ups and downs. On the downs, it feels like there’s something I seem to be missing; the liberal spicing, perhaps. Or the “feeling” one must absorb when trying dishes from another culture, which usually involves letting go of our notions of how food should be seasoned and spiced, and adapting to a completely foreign way of cooking.

Beena’s written several books on Indian cooking and had a program on French television. And when I arrived in her Parisian kitchen, Beena was finishing up filtering a jar of ghee. It was probably an impolite gesture to do upon arrival, but I stuck my nose in it right away and took of good sniff of the warm jar of French butterfat: it smelled like heaven.

ghee cucumber-tomato raita

She’d asked me what I wanted to make and I thought it would be fun to share something with you that was simple, but endlessly adaptable. So I chose raita. As Beena explained to me, “Raita can have anything in it; pineapple, apples, or bananas. In the winter, I even make it with (cooked) pumpkin.”

When she pulled out a bunch of the most perfect coriander (cilantro), with not a limp leaf or limb in sight, we talked about the quality of produce in Paris, both agreeing that the Biocoop natural food stores have some of the best produce in the city. Although she likes to buy things at the stand of Joël Thiébault, who I’d love to shop from but he’s only at markets in the far-off sixteenth arrondissement. Plus I’ve just realized that the people in the natural food stores are some of the nicest people in Paris, which leads me to think that not enough people are eating organic fruits and vegetables around here ; )

When I remarked to her how open Indian cooks were to people who experiment and try variations on their cuisine, she reasoned – “It’s because we have so many cultures in one country and there are so many different ways of doing things. We’re just open to other styles of cooking.”

cucumber-tomato raita cucumber-tomato raita
tandoor spices kitchen window

Right away she put together the raita in minutes in a stainless-steel, deep-sided dish, and when she was done, added a demi-spoonful of her masala powder. (You can buy her personal blend of spices at Roellinger.) Then she stirred it up, ready to be served with freshly made naan.

Interestingly, as Elise pointed out in her recipe for Cucumber Mint Raita, yogurt counteracts the heat of spicy food, making raita a fitting accompaniment to Indian stews and curries. Beena uses just a few bits of chopped fresh chili peppers when cooking for French guests (and from the looks of it, American ones as well), but said she would add the entire chili for Indian tastes.

yogurt chiles in yogurt
cilantro cucumber-tomato raita

That led us to a discussion about spicy foods and how spices are sometimes used too liberally, obliterating any other flavors in a dish. And she advised that “chiles are used like a spice, but should not be the only flavor.” So when you make her raita, not only can you add whatever kinds of fruits and vegetables strike your fancy, but you can dial the heat in either direction, depending on your tastes.

I was so excited to cook with Beena that I woke up that morning at 4:15am, partially because I was afraid I was going to oversleep and miss our 10 am rendez-vous, and partially because I’m a little obsessive-compulsive about…well, just about everything. But raita is so easy and so versatile that this is one dish that you – nor I – need to stress about.

cucumber-tomato raita

Raita
Four servings

Beena used full-fat yogurt, but you could use lowfat yogurt in place of it if you really must. As mentioned above, raita can be made with a variety of fruits and vegetables, and you can dial up the flavors using mint, scallions or green onions, or whatever spices strike your fancy.


  • 1 cup (250 g) plain yogurt
  • 1/2 large cucumber
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 6 springs of cilantro
  • 1 small chili pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon masala powder
  • sea salt

1. Scrape the yogurt into a bowl.

2. Peel the cucumber, slice lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Dice the cucumber into bite-size pieces. Core the tomato and dice the tomato into bite-size pieces and add them to the yogurt along with the cucumbers.

3. Chop the cilantro and add most of it to the bowl, reserving a little to garnish the finished raita. Chop as much, or as little, of the chili pepper as you’d like to use and add it to the mixture.

4. In a mortar and pestle (or with a hammer in a sturdy zip-top bag), crush the cumin seeds to a slightly coarse powder. Stir the ground seeds to the raita, along with masala powder and salt (to taste).

5. Sprinkle the top with additional chopped cilantro.

Serve at room temperature, or chilled, alongside a favorite Indian dish or as a salad.


Masala powder is available at stores that specialize in Indian food and well-stocked grocery stores. You can find recipes for it on Food Blog Search if you’d like to make your own.



Related Links and Recipes

Beena Paradin’s Website

Beena Paradin on Facebook

Tandoori Chicken

Green Tomato-Apple Chutney

Quick Saffron-Coconut Ice Cream

70 comments

  • How delicious! Raita is one of those dishes that I can’t help poking my naan bread into when I’m in an Indian restaurant but which I never think of making it home. I will have to give it a go now.

  • I love the cool and refreshing tang of raita with spicy foods. This year I’ve wanted to learn more about Indian cuisine, and enjoyed reading your raita adventure. Keep it coming!

  • I really had no clue there was such a vibrant South Asian community in Paris! Raita is one of the most versatile dishes I know of. Favorite variation: pomegranate! Perfect with biryani. Happy Diwali!

  • Try dry-roasting the cumin seeds before grinding them, it gives an extra dimension to the flavour but be aware they can burn very quickly.

  • I have the same thing with Indian food. Me, I don’t seem to be able to cook it with confidence because I don’t have the knowledge of the cuisine. I have so much respect for my indian uncle who whips up great indian dishes (and bread!) and handles all his spices so well, while at the same time he keeps saying how unbelievably simple it is. He just has that special skill of balancing the flavours really well. He also serves his curries with yoghurt very often.

    Indian cuisine is probably my favourite cuisine of all times, and maybe that’s the case because I don’t know how to make it myself and I only get to eat it very rarely (not many and not many good indian restaurants) :)

    • Like most cuisines, it usually involved a trip to a well-stocked market to check out all the ingredients, then some reading on how to use them. Of course, if you want to make it authentic, it’s best to find a reference (or a person, like Beena – I got lucky!) who is a good guide. But generally speaking, like Korean, Thai, North African, etc…there are blends of spices and seasonings that make the food taste they way it does.

  • Huh? Raita? I can’t quite believe this is even a ‘recipe’. I whip it up and eat it everyday! But I guess now more people can get to eat this wonderful dish that I take for granted.

  • My favorite raita is a South Indian raita with coconut (fresh is great, but dried unsweetened works, too), cilantro and seeded cucumbers cut into quarters lengthwise and then sliced. You season the yogurt with mustard seeds popped in peanut oil, half a dried red chile and salt to taste. Yum (I made some yesterday).

  • Oh, if only we had good Indian food on Cape Cod! I search it out off-Cape, but this raita looks wonderful. Must pull out my worn Madhur Jaffrey and get busy. Thanks for a peek at ethnic food in Paris. I know where to go, but most folks miss it.

  • Forgive me if this is a stupid set of questions (with an obvious answer), but when do you add the masala powder? Together with the cumin, or before that? (Or do you sprinkle it on top?)

  • I love Raita! I love it especially with only sliced cucumber and tomatoes which goes so well with yoghurt and a sprinkle of mint with cilantro. I am obsessed with cilantro. Mint is probably not a very Indian spice, but I use it in my raita to create a bit of a bite! Sorry Indian foodies out there! I will definitely get myself a bottle of Beena’s garam masala. I can eat Raita straight with pilau rice. Actually, I can eat anything with rice – soya sauce and minced garlic mixed with sliced chillis and sesame oil! Yumms!

    Right now, am following Malika Basu on Miss Masla. Check out her blog!

    Thanks for sharing David, this is a great recipe.

  • I love raita and the simplicity of this recipe! I just got back from a week in Greece and have been on a serious (bordering on addition) tsatziki kick, and have been thinking about it’s similarities to raita. The best I can come up with is that their main difference is thickness (in my experience tsatziki is a little thicker) and spices. I also particularly enjoyed Beena’s take on the adaptability of Indian cuisine because it is so true – within India there are so many variations on each dish from home to home and region to region, this logic makes perfect sense. Thanks for a great piece! I hope you figure out what that green leafy thing is – maybe snap a photo and share and see if your readers can’t figure it out!

  • Could your mystery vegetable be yard-long bean, perhaps? Vigna unguiculata if you want to be technical, lobia in India, tseng dou in China, kacang panjang in Malaysia … (I’m lifting this straight from Charmaine Solomon’s Encyclopedia of Asian Food – sadly I’m not that smart).

  • I love how you write and how you are so generously kind towards other cooks and cuisines. I love how you add a dash of sarcasm for good measure here and there and even poke at yourself for fun. Thanks for all the great posts. I love when they appear in my in-box! Though I don’t comment often I enjoy reading every single one. Your beautiful photography is the icing on the cake. Tres bien fait!

  • I second that about the South Indian-style raita – just a little bit more work, but really delicious! My favorite actually doesn’t involve any chopped vegetable (though you could add whatever takes your fancy – just no raw onion please) but is simply thick yogurt whisked with a paste of fresh coconut, green chili, and fresh ginger. The sauce is then seasoned with mustard seeds and curry leaves popped in oil. The trick to getting a thick raita is to grind the paste with little or no water.

  • yum! i just love the way the warm spices enhance the savory aspects of yogurt which we yanks are so used to eating sweet.

  • Outside of India, Indian food is perceived as being really spicy and generous with chili, which is very often not the case.

    One example is an incredibly popular dish called “Aloo Posto” [Literally, "Poatoes with poppy-seed"], the recipe can be found here: http://allrecipes.co.in/recipe/437/aloo-posto.aspx
    The poppyseed can be easily substituted with sesame [in much smaller proportions]- easy to cook and really delicious.

  • I am more intrigued by the description of leafy green thing that is 3 ft long, can you post a picture of it so I can tell you what to do with it?

  • Like Katherine (above), I also thought about tsatziki when I saw the recipe. So similiar – and what is the dish my French Aunt used to make all the time with cucumbers and sour cream? I have Garam Masala powder from Indonesia – is it the same spice?

  • There is a big Indian festival tomorrow, celebrated with sweets etc. Maybe you should have delayed your visit until tomorrow. Or maybe you already secured an invite, in which case the decision to go early was a good strategic move:)

  • Mmmm… I love raita!

    Absolutely agree with Three-Cookies – we are celebrating an Indian festival of Lights tomorrow (Diwali).

  • Your 3ft leafy thing sounds like curry leaves (still on the branch).

    For me, chilis are a must in a raita. One of my oldest friends, also my college roommate for 4 years, often got this super delicious raita in her meal packages from home (i.e. Mummy).

  • David, if you want to eat some of the best South Indian (Kerala) food ever (does NOTvaguely resemble overcooked Tandoori fare), you absolutely have to visit one of Das Sreedharan’s Rasa restaurants next time you’re in London–in fact, it’s almost worth the Eurostar train ride there just to sample the exquisite multi-course “Keralan Feast”!! I brought home two of his cookbook–the Moru Kachiathu curry with green banana and mango is an incredibly delicious wake-up call to jaded taste buds (in his Fresh Flavours of India cookbook).

    Also a little tip for tender palates: A major part of controlling the heat in Indian food is limiting how many of the seeds in the chili peppers end up in your dish. By removing and discarding more of the seeds, I find I can keep more of the flavor of the the chili pepper in the dish without scorching my tastebuds and obliterating the rest of the incredible flavors in the dish.

  • I love tomato-cucumber raita, or for that matter any raita I’ve tried so far and I tried quite a few. What I do when I make tomato-cucumber raita is toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant, and then crush them. That is how my first Indian cookbook taught me and that is how it’s been ever since. Indian food is the most fun to cook since you get to play with all the different spices, and the flavors are always so delicious yet new and unexplored.

  • Thanks! This sounds wonderful. Here in N. Germany we have an abundance of Turkish and Greek (and Italian, of course) ethnic restaurants, but Indian is hard to come by. But these ingredients I can get!

  • Greek style yoghurt makes great raita. I see from the picture that this raita has legs!

  • I’m thinking the 3-foot long green leafy stalk may be “drumstick”? Here’s some info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera

    I had it for the first time at Rasa in London 10 years or so ago, and asked the wait staff a bunch of questions about it. When I was leaving, my waitress sneaked me a little brown paper bag with a box of frozen drumstick in it to take back home to the U.S. the next morning!

    • Thanks- that does kind of look like it, but it’s hard to tell. Next time I go to the Indian quarter, I’ll take a closer look.

  • Yummy…instead of using masala,I add roasted cumin seed powder,rock salt n black pepper.

  • When I lived in Paris I used to shop in the Indian district fairly often, and one time I was lucky to find 3 foot branches of fresh curry leaves for sale. All the Indians in the market were buying them, so I did too – and got them home on the metro. They were absolutely fantastic, and I froze what I did not use right away. Even a year later, those frozen leaves were better than any dried ones.

  • I’m with Stephen and Danja. I find that toasted cumin is less “sharp” than untoasted and the Indians I know all toast it (here in the San Jose area). Raw cumin is one of the reasons I am not fond of many Mexican dishes (in addition to the beans and corn), but toasted cumin, ahhhh. It seems to be friends with Tumeric after such a process. I love good Indian food. It’s best to cultivate friends. Indians are very social and warm – just like their food.

  • Sitting here in San Francisco, knowing that I can find (and eat) as much cilantro as I want is one thing, but trying to find fresh cilantro in the Dordogne where I am every year from May through September is another story. What is available at the supermarkets, when it is available at all, is wilted at outrageous prices. The Bio-coop in Bergerac doesn’t have it and the one time I saw it at a weekly farmers market, it looked even sadder than the supermarket variety. I haven’t found anything that really takes the place of cilantro, so there are lots of dishes I love to make in S.F. (san francisco) that I can’t eat all summer in S.F. (south of France). I’m not complaining, I’m just saying …..

  • This looks so delicious, thanks for that great Indian recipe. It looks like you had a lot of fun.

  • Nice to see raita here. Its really like a vegetable salad in yogurt. You can make it without a the “masala powder” and just roasted and crushed cumin and chilli powder.
    David, if I may say so, “masala powder” is really a misleading term since masala refers to a mix of spices. And every part of India has its own particular mix of spices/ masala. Indian stores would have an array of masala powders and all of them wouldn’t taste good in raita. For example garam masala and chai masala are two examples.
    “Chaat masala” is probably what would go with this type of raita.Again, South Indian raita is made differently and doesn’t use “masala powders”.

  • It’s look really good and it remind me of tzaaiki -Greece food

  • What kind of ” small pepper”? There are lots of them and their heat level varies a lot. I love Indian food, all those exquisite spice blends make me swoon.

    • I don’t know the variety of pepper she used but since availability really varies depending on where you live, the great thing about chili peppers is that you can customize whatever you’re making to the heatness level you prefer. So if you like things really hot, or less-so, use a chili that will give you the appropriate heat.

  • If I can recommend a book that I have been absolutely in love with, please check out 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer.

    My husband is vegetarian (but not Indian) and this book has not only given us a wonderful new cuisine to work with, it’s made making dinner that much easier.

    It doesn’t contain only vegetarian recipes either – lots of meat, fish and poultry ones. LOVE THIS BOOK!!

  • It’s so cool to see something that we Indians take for granted on your website David… And you’re right , there’s a combination of spices that you need to marry and then it’s easy.. As your such a fresh ginger enthusiast, try adding fresh grated ginger in your Raita – heaven !!

  • For “Cilantro on my Mind”, take a packet of seeds with you and grow your own in a pot! May to September is a good growing season.

  • And now can we have a recipe for that homemade naan bread you ate with your raita?

  • Great post David. While you’ve made it clear that you are not “Mr. Organic”, you definitely highlight that you know what’s important; food grown in a manor that is safe for the environment and harmonizes with all living things, including humans like us that consume it.
    “Indian” cooking is just cooking. An Indian curry is just a one-pot sauce made from scratch. When sauteeing the base, onions and chile peppers (serranos not jalapenos), allow it all to scorch a bit and then toss in all your freshly ground (spice mill or mortor) spices – curry powder (turmeric and cumin), black pepper, clove, mustard seed, cardamom, fenugreek- let the spices “burn” a bit on the bottom of the pan and then add garlic and tomatoes, fresh or canned… let that all stew for as long as possible… the longer it stews, the more the flavors will mature. It’s even better if you make it and then jar it up to use later. Or you could add it to a pot of yellow split pea soup – dahl to make it a complete (vegetarian) meal.

    If I forgot anything it’s because I prepare this dish so often that when I make it, I’m on autopilot.

  • Ahhhh the infinitely versatile and refreshing raita! I usually make mine with tomato, grated cucumber, coriander, mint, salt and a little dash each of cumin powder and paprika. Delicious always!

  • P.S. I have a copy of and love Beena Paradin’s “Pure & simple: Nouvelle cuisine végétarienne indienne.” So cool that you got to share this experience with her!

  • I love this dish. So refreshing and good for the heart and the soul. Indian food is one of my favorites, true comfort, and especially wonderful in the cooler months of fall and winter.

  • I love Indian food. And Raita is a dish that goes with anything. So good to cool down a burnt palate inbetween bites of a hot curry.
    And please, take a photo of the unknown plant. I studied biology (though a long time ago) and I am always interested in foreign food plants.
    I agree with LaJean that drumsticks look very exotic, but as far as I know they are sold without the leaves (though those are edible, too). I remember my first encounter with them some years ago: An indian lady sat near me in the underground train (in Frankfurt/Germany). With long fruit sticking out of her shopping bag. To me they looked like giant okra (lady’s fingers). I stared at them for a while – until I smiled and dared to ask the lady about her shopping. She told me they are drumsticks and even described how to cook them. Proud, that someone was interested in food from her home country. So ask the shopkeeper – you’ll make him happy, and yourself and of course us, your readers ;)
    Thanks for this blog entry, and for reminding me to go shopping for curry ingredients again soon.

  • Just tried your recipe. The portions are right on point and this tasted surprisingly authentic.

  • Really enjoy your Blog, your style and the Recipes!! Thank’s so much…. A

  • There is nothing like a trip to India or two to make you keenly aware of the different cooking there. In Delhi the whole city is filled with the aroma of spices roasting in the late aftenoon – something you never forget.

  • Dear David,

    It was such a pleasure meeting you and cooking with you. Your pictures and writing are just amazing.

    Happy Diwali!

    Bises

    Beena

  • The coveted gas range in the lower right corner makes this picture tangible for me. What a nice time you must have had in Beena Paradin’s kitchen.

    Also, I enjoy raita very much and the link to a variation with mint will be enjoyable to try!

  • David!
    I left a message for you yesterday about your book (almost finished today and dont’t want it to end), and here I am now visiting your blog for the first time and look forward to being a regular! AND to my surprise, you did a Diwali post! :-) While I am Armenian, my boyfriend is Indian, and we are celebrating today! I am lucky that here in NY we have Patel Brothers for Indian food items and spices. I went on Sunday and it was buzzing with the excitement of the holiday. Of course…I tried making chicken biryani twice for today’s celebration and failed. Twice. I can make my own homemade gnocci, I can roast a chicken, I can do sauce reductions, and even know the shades of a good roux. But I totally messed up. Twice. I should have made raita. ;) Lesson learned, got some good tips AFTER the fact.
    Thanks for this post – you rock!
    Cheers,
    Amy K

  • Looks really delicious!
    I am a big fan of indian cuisine too, my sister has just spent one semester in India and brought me some spices… it has really nothing to do with those from here in groceries stores!

  • Raita is one of those super simple things that I never seem to get around to making, even though I typically have all those ingredients lying around. My mother’s husband is Indian, so I really have no excuse. Thanks for the reminder/push! :)

  • Hi David,

    One of the numerous variations in India is adding grounded peanuts, sugar (as per taste) and a tempering of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chillies and asofeotida.. its yum.. hope you’ll try it.

  • Good to hear that you are interested in indian food. You could not have chosen a simpler, tastier dish than the Raita, its almost quintessessentially Indian, there is a lt happening in a small bowl at the same time: flavour, colours, textures and it pairs up almost with everything. I am from North India where the extreme summer heat is often dealt with through a chilled bowl of cucumber raita. Interestingly, if you find Turkish buttermilk somewhere try using that as a base by mixing some yogurt in it for your Raita. The added saltiness plus slightly nutty flavour should enhance taste.

    Agree with you about Biocoop. On a recent holiday in Paris (Oct 1st-10th) we shopped from there store on Bd. Sebastopol, the produce was great (incredible Mushrooms), staff very friendly though it took us quite a while to figure out the numbering system on the veggies.
    For your next Indian dish that also uses Yogurt, try Curd-Rice. Its simple to make and will give you a flavour of south-Indian cuisine. Do keep posting.

  • I love it how even foor supposed to tone down the heat has some spice in it. I always thought raita had no spices in it. It looks delicious.

  • Great post. I really love simple, flavorful, home-style dishes from other cultures. Will try this with homemade yogurt–which two friends (Albanian and Malaysian) recently showed me how to make. They couldn’t believe I didn’t know how. I’d always thought it was tricky & required special equipment. Pas du tout!

  • I have a friend who grew up in Singapore with a Chinese mother and an Indian father. And boy, can that girl cook! The array of ingredients and techniques that were/are foreign to an American cook (me) are astounding. I’ve learned so much from her, and I’ve just begun to scratch the surface. She knows I love her chicken curry and she makes it for me quite often, however I finally had to ask her to write down her recipe so I could make it for myself, since I have since become addicted to it, and can’t expect her to make it for me every time I’m craving it, which is becoming more and more often. We’ve known each other for 20 years now, and she still has certain dishes she wants to cook for me that I haven’t experienced yet. Lucky me. ; )

  • Oh, I love me some Indian food. I wonder if having actual formal training in cooking (in the French tradition) works with or against making Indian food. To me, the charms of Indian are that spices are not expected to be subtle — although they will blend wonderfully if you let a curry sit overnight — and that the cooking need not be precise. In many cases, the spicing can be eyeballed, the ingredients can be played with and improvised… it’s such a forgiving cuisine, and one open to experimentation and improvisation.

  • As an Indian, you don’t even think that raita constitutes a recipe. It would be like asking an American for the recipe of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich … This really reminds you that the food one thinks is everyday, is actually something new and wonderful to someone else.

    Btw, most families don’t bother to remove the cucumber seeds and core the tomato … Too much work. We just chop everything up and toss it in. Unlike the photos, we chop everything really fine, so when you eat a spoonful of Raita, you get a couple of pieces of everything and five different flavors burst in your mouth

  • Dear “Cilantro on my Mind”,

    Perhaps someone else has already suggested this, but”….

    Just grow your own cilantro. I gather that you’re near Bergerac? I can assure you that cilantro grows quite well and easily (in beds, not pots) in Brantome, which isn’t far from you, nor much different in terms of soil/climate. Unfortunately for you (given that you’re n France from May-September) cilantro’s quite like parsley in that it likes sunny days and cool nights. If the roots are too hot at night, it bolts (I don’t think it would be worth the bother in, say,Provence or the Languedoc….too damn hot ALL THE TIME). That bolting-problem’s easily solved, however, by mulching the roots rather heavily.

    Sow it (the seeds are cheap and readily available by mail) when you arrive in May….and then sow more every two weeks until late June or so. By mid-summer, the first plants (which you should allow to bolt after you’ve used the young leaves) will be re-seeding….and you can depend on having very young plants throughout the summer and into the very late Fall. In the spring, you’ll have even more, since Cilantro’s a wildly prolific self-sower…..sort of like johnny-jump-ups and wild violets (which will invade your entire garden if you let them have their enterprisingly procreative way).

    In any case, Cilantro can be grown quite easily in the Dordogne/Perigord.

    Level Best,

    David Terry
    http://www.davidterryart.com

  • I have a variation of raita at lunchtime almost everyday; grated cucumber, finely chopped onions and green chillies are what I add to it most often. I would roast the cumin seeds before crushing and mixing it with my raita.

  • That is probably one of the most beautiful raitas I’ve ever seen!

  • Good to see this recipe here ..well making raita is almost a daily affair for me never imagined that it could be something new and intriguing to many out there..well we do take things for granted I agree …every home in India has it’s own way of spicing up raita or the main ingredients -cucumber, pineapple , apple ,onion, coriander /mint /basil etc..one particular one I learned it from my MIL is grated and steamed bottle gourd ( Lauki/dodhi in Hindi ) raita ..then spicing up it with garam masala+ freshly toasted and grounded cumin with some chilly flakes.. bottle gourd is a vegetable quite popular in India tends to have a capability of “Pitta” pacifying qualities according to Ayurveda..and raita in general is good for Indian summer heat..but this can be great as a dip or topping for tortilla chip as well ..something I experimented on my own :-)…

  • David,

    Would have gladly discussed Indian Cuisine with you that evening at Sugarplum if I’d known you had an interest in it. I’d just spent 2 weeks OD’ing on delicious French food and chatting about this would have been a welcome respite for me ! Feel free to call on me for any info if Bina or your other experts on the subject are unavailable.

    Jaya, I too make raita with Garam masala and roasted and ground cumin seed. Didn’t know about adding doodhi so I’ll have to try that the next time. Thank for the delicious tip.

  • @jaya,
    doodhi is great. i also love spinach raita…..add a liitle chaat masala.. its yummmm..and well lets not forget the good ol’ boondi raita :)

  • Roasting the cumin seeds first always brings out the best flavor.

  • Ahhhh, just wonderful David. Good luck on your journey into delicious Indian cookery!

  • Indian food is amazing! And this dish look so delicious AND nutritious with its balance of fruits!