Raita

September 6, 2007

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Raita is a South Asian condiment made of yogurt, herbs, spices, cucumber, and/or onion. It is very much like Greek tzatizki. Because it is cooling to the mouth, raita is traditionally served with hot curries. You can season this basic recipe with cilantro, mint, ground cumin, and/or ground hot peppers such as cayenne, if you like. For serving with Curried Red Dal, though, I prefer the simple cucumber version because the dal has its own seasonings. SAM

PS I have read that in the Indian Ayurvedic healing tradition. cucumber and yogurt are not served together. Maybe some of our very knowledgeable Indian readers can enlighten us.

1 (16-ounce) carton plain yogurt, whole-milk, reduced-fat, or non-fat
2 (4- to 5-inch) cucumbers, peeled and coarsely grated

This is same procedure we followed for Yogurt Cheese. Line a 7-inch sieve or colander with two layers of paper towels, letting the edges hang over the rim. Place it over a large bowl and spoon in 16 ounces of plain yogurt. Fold the paper towels over the top, anchor with a small plate, and place a 5-pound weight on top. Let drip for 3 or 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. Meanwhile, place the grated cucumber in another sieve over a large bowl with a weighted plate on top and let drip for 1 hour. Save the juice in the bowl for thinning the Raita. Combine the Yogurt Cheese and cucumber, thinning with juice, if necessary. Serve on Curried Red Dal or as a dip.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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