Cucumber Raita is a creamy, cooling, easy to make Indian yogurt-based condiment, which can also serve as a refreshing dip or a saucy side dish.Warm with cumin and Indian spices, and studded with crisp cucumber and fresh cilantro, this cucumber raita is the undisputed king of cooling condiments.
Thinking of ways to beat the heat this summer? Want to stay cool as the cucumber? Try this quick, flavorful, no -cook, yogurt based Indian condiment to cool you palate.
Table of Contents
What is Raita?
Raita is a condiment and side dish from the Indian subcontinent, made with plain yogurt (dahi), spices, and a variety of vegetables, usually cucumber. This flavorful fresh sauce is served to cool spicy entrees or side dishes like curries.
Why is Raita paired with spicy dishes in Indian cuisine?
Indian cooking involves an assortment of complex flavors—from sweet chutneys to spicy curries. Do you know what the secret to a delicious Indian meal is? Ever wondered why this popular and traditional side dish is found in the menu at any Indian restaurant?
Foods are paired with their contrasting flavors.
An Indian meal is absolutely incomplete without yogurt/curds.Since yogurt aids in digestive health, raita is often served after main courses or as a palate cleanser in many Indian restaurants.
In this yogurt based condiment, the cucumber raita, the cool yogurt gets a refreshing lift from fresh lemon juice, the cucumbers bring a hydrating relief to the palate and the cumin spice is known for its digestive properties.
In South Indian cuisine, this refreshing salad is known as pachadi.
Make this salad early in the day and keep it in the refrigerator to let the flavors blend and intensify.
Looking for healthy and delicious salad recipes? Click here to learn more!
What are the ingredients in a Raita?
To prepare Raita, one will need
Yogurt/Curds – You may choose to use Plain Yogurt or Greek Yogurt. Both works well. Typical Indian Raita uses Plain Yogurt as it lighter and more diluted compared to Greek yogurt.If using Greek Yogurt, you may choose to dilute it with a little water.
Cucumber – Yes, cool cucumber, is the basic ingredient for a simple Indian raita. But, one may choose to use a mixture of vegetables like onion, tomato as per your choice.
Herbs – Cilantro/Coriander leaves are mostly used Yu may use mint if you so prefer or both together.
Salt and Black Pepper powder to taste.
Did you know that Spices are such an integral part of Indian cuisine? They come in all shapes and forms and are widely used in Indian cooking. Be it as a whole spice or in its ground version.
You can learn all about the 25 essential Indian Spices commonly used in cooking, their names, origin, appearance, flavors and their health benefits in my E-book ,” A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Indian Spices” here.
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How to make simple Cucumber Raita?
Making any Indian Raita is quick and easy. It is a no-cook dish.
Indian Raita is made with basic ingredients like yogurt, cucumber, spice powders and herbs.This cooling cucumber yogurt dip can be whipped up in 10 minutes.
- Choose the vegetable of your choice ( in this case the cucumber) and mix it with the smoothly whisked yogurt.
- Next add the Indian spices like roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, black pepper powder and salt to taste.
- Some prefer to adda bit of Chaat masala to the mix, depending on your spice tolerance you may add or skip it completely.
- Add cilantro/coriander leaves or mint (optional) to it and serve chilled!
To flavor the yogurt :
Cumin (roasted cumin powder) is added in Indian cooking for its cooling properties and also because it is a great digestive.
A pinch of Red Chili powder/cayenne pepper provides the teeny bit of heat to the dish.
Some even add minced green chili or minced Serrano peppers to amp the spiciness of the dish (optional) Common practice in South Indian salad or pacchadi.
To enjoy Indian food and make it feel complete you need to savor it with a bowl of delicious cucumber raita.
Can I use Greek Yogurt for making Raita?
Unlike Indian plain yogurt which is light and dilute, greek yogurt is thick and creamy. Hence you might want to add some water to dilute it, if using greek yogurt and whisk it into a smooth consistency.
To get a nice, thick and rich sauce or raita, a full fat strained yogurt is the most preferred one.
Is Raita and Tzatziki the same or different?
While Tzatziki is a greek yogurt dip made with cucumber, garlic, greek yogurt, herbs like dill, coriander leaves and mint, Indian cucumber rait is made with cucumber, yogurt, roasted cumin powder, red chili powder and cilantro/coriander leaves.
Both are yogurt based sauces used for dipping, as a side dish for festive rice, as a condiment on sandwiches and flat breads.They both are cooling, creamy and tangy.In short, Raita looks like the Indian version of Tzatziki.
Do you grate or dice cucumber for this recipe?
You may choose to use the cucumber in this recipe either way, be it grated or diced.
- If you choose to grate the cucumber using a cheese grater, you may squeeze out the juice and add it to the yogurt along with the spices to dilute it a bit.
- If you prefer to dice it instead, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips, then into thin slices crosswise. Blot of the moisture with paper towels and then add it to the yogurt followed by the spices and herbs.
Either way, it is best served chilled.
How to make Roasted cumin powder at home?
In a seasoning pan, add cumin seeds and roast them at medium heat until till they are golden and aromatic.
Transfer the roasted cumin seeds on a plate and allow them to cool down. Transfer the cooled cumin seeds into a grinder and blend them to a fine powder.For future use, you may also place this roasted cumin powder masala in an airtight container and store them in a col place in your pantry.
Cucumber Raita Recipe
4 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories26
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 1g 2%
- Saturated Fat 1g 5%
- Sodium 15mg 1%
- Potassium 273mg 8%
- Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
- Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
- Sugars 3g
- Protein 1g 2%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
What is Raita best served with?
Cool, creamy raita is vegetarian and gluten-free. It is an excellent foil to the searing heat of Indian recipes and spicy foods in general. It’s best served with classic Indian dishes like
Variations to Raita Recipes
Try these variations next time you make raita at home.
- Switch up the veggies. Instead of (or in addition to) the cucumber, add diced radishes, tomatoes, carrots.
- Amp up the citrus. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice to the mix.
- Brighten it up. For a South Indian twist on raita, add freshly grated coconut or finely diced green chilies.
How long does Raita last in the refrigerator?
Ideally, Raita stays fresh for maximum of 2 days.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know all about Raita and how to whip up a bowlful in less than 10 minutes, are you going to give it a try? You can whip up a batch every week this summer, for its cooling properties.
Being a versatile dish, you can use it on so many ways and pair them with your summer dishes.Let us know how you served your cucumber raita in the comments section below.
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