Category Archives: Raitas

Cucumber and Tomato Raita

I made this for dinner last night after a very long time, so that for the girls it was quite new. Indira had only the yogurt from the raita yesterday but this afternoon as they ate it for lunch with lemon rice and  carrot salad- both of which were also left over from dinner yesterday – she said more than once “simply delicious !”  which was both pleasing and amusing in the nicest way because it makes her seem all grown up 🙂

2 pots of yogurt (250 gms)

half a cucumber(or a little less or a little more, to taste), peeled and diced fine

3-4 tablespoons of milk

2 small tomatoes, diced

1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds

1/2 of a dry red chilli (optional but adds a great flavor)

a pinch of asofetida

1 or 2 teaspoons of oil

salt to taste

Pour the yogurt in a bowl , add the salt and the milk, then whisk the yogurt with a spoon to make it smooth. Mix in the cucumber and the tomatoes.

In a small frying pan, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and when these start to crackle add the curry leaves, the red chilli and the asofetida. Fry for a few seconds, then pour this mixture in to the yogurt and mix everything well.

This is best made at least a half hour ahead of eating, to allow all the flavors to mingle.

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Carrot Raita

This is another great way to use carrots.

I have grown very bored of eating this vegetable  in pulav and salad.  So I was very pleased to find this recipe in Kumud Marathe’s “Maharastrian Recipes – A Family Treasury”  – my bible for this kind of cuisine.

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Carrot Raita

2 large carrots, peeled and grated fine (a hand grater serves better for this than a food processor  I think, as the latter would not grate the carrots fine enough to allow them to blend well with the other ingredients)

350-450 gms of yoghurt (vary this amount to taste)

1 teaspoon of cumin powder (or to taste)

salt to taste

1/2 to 1  teaspoon of sugar

1 or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Whisk the yoghurt gently with all the ingredients (add a little water and semi-skimmed milk if the yoghurt seems too thick) except the carrots, then fold these in last.

Leave the raita in the refrigerator for a while to chill, if you want, but do make it at least an hour ahead so that all the flavors blend.

The original recipe calls for 1-2 green chillies (chopped fine) to be added as well, but I skipped this.

This raita makes for such a  pretty bowl to serve on the side with any meal; I think it lifted one notch the level of the lunch I gave everyone last week (when Shri was home and on holiday as well) which consisted of just khichdi with peas and this raita 🙂

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A Simple Summer Lunch -Carrot & Green Bell Pepper Pulao with Cucumber Raita

Once again today Noor melted my heart with her  “you make very nice food , Mama” statement.

I love it when they seem to enjoy their meal.

Indira expresses the same feeling when she comes sniffing around the kitchen; she is one for showing her appreciation with her nose.

But it is Noor who often tells me “I love all the food you make ” and sometimes “you are the best cooker ever”.  So just for her I’ll come back to put down the recipes for today’s lunch – vegetable pulao ( a south Indian sort with a spice mix called pitlai powder) and cucumber raita.

Indira seemed to think , while she watched me make the raita, that it was one she didn’t like ( I haven’t made it  since last summer, probably)  but the heat has been so bad this week I thought it was what we needed to eat today.

So it was good to see her polish off two katoras of it and a little more…

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“Yoghurt Sauce with Mint” – aka – Pudina Raita

As I watched Indira happily polish off the remains of the yoghurt in Noor’s pot (Noor, who hasn’t been too well, had already gone in for her sieste without finishing her lunch)  after finishing her own, I was reminded once again of how Mataji, my maternal grandmother, used to call me “dadhipriya”, because I loved yoghurt so much. I see the same fondness for this food in Indira too.

It reminded me too, of her favorite raita, though that is not how she thinks of it. The extent of Indira’s francisation– the result of attending the local maternelle for three years and of eating lunch in the school cantine since the last two years- struck me one day last summer when she said,”You know that yoghurt sauce you make sometimes, that has mint in it? Will you make that again, please? I love it !!”

It took me a while to figure this one out , that she was talking about pudina raita.

So although it is a fairly cold winter day here, I thought I’d document this recipe too, since she loves this “sauce” so much. Of course, it is best eaten on a hot summer day, since the mint has such a cooling effect.

Pudina Raita

250 gms of yoghurt

2-3 tbsps of finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 tsp of sugar

salt to taste

Whisk the salt and the sugar in to the yoghurt. Mix in the mint leaves, and then turn the raita in to a serving bowl and leave for an hour or two before eating, so that the flavor of the mint blends well with the yoghurt.

This raita is great with pulavs, paranthas, and heavy and spicy curries and meats. And it is a wonderfully cooling and fresh addition to meals in the summer.

And with tikkas and kebabs, I imagine it could even pass off as a dip or -yes ! – sauce:-)

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Autumn’s coming ! Pumpkin Raita

In another sign that summer is on it’s way out, that very autumn vegetable – pumpkin – has started to appear in the vegetable aisles.

To give them their due, the girls do eat it without much fuss even if I make  petha (a sweet and sour preparation that I grew up on and love) with it, and it blends so easily in to soups too.

But they definitely like it best when I make a raita with it. And as has become Indira’s wont, when I cook these days something she likes, yesterday too she said to me, when I made this raita for dinner ,”PLEASE tell me how you made it, I REALLY would love to make this when I am bigger”.

So here’s the recipe, for my chef-in-the-making.

Pumpkin Raita (serves 4)

250 gms of yoghurt

150-200 gms of pumpkin

3 tablespoons of dessicated coconut(optional; the raita is nice even without this ingredient)

salt to taste

a pinch of asoefetida, 2 tsp of sunflower oil, 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, and 4-5 curry leaves for tempering

( optional -1 dried red chilli for the tempering)

1 tablespoon of finely chopped green coriander

Peel and chop the pumpkin, then pressure cook it till it is soft enough to be mashed.

Add the salt to the yoghurt and whisk gently with a spoon or fork. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and when they pop add the curry leaves (and the red chilli if you are going to use one) and fry for a few seconds. Add the asoefetida once you have taken the pan off the heat (or the asoefetida might burn) and pour this tempering in to the yoghurt. Mix it in, as well as the coconut. Now add the mashed pumpkin, and the coriander and mix everything thoroughly.

As with most recipes I post, this one too benefits, I feel, from being made a little while ahead of eating, so that all the flavors mingle.

It goes quite well with pulavs, and helps up the vegetable quotient of a meal like last night’s when I only made a curry with black-eyed beans, and paranthas with dough made from the previous day’s leftover daal and aloo palak.

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Nuts about Peanuts- Peanut Raita

For the dinner at our place last night for some family friends, one of the things I made is the raita that is our family favorite.

The magic ingredient that goes in to it is peanuts, which along with yoghurt would probably top the family’s “my best things to eat” list.

Peanuts’ “koot” – (peanuts ground into even-sized little bits rather than a powdery texture) is a store cupboard staple in my kitchen, since it is everyone’s favorite snack. It is one of those things – along with orange juice,ketchup, yoghurt, and a particular brand of spreading cheese – that I try not to run out of, since that would be the kind of household crisis to provoke much discontent.

The koot goes in to many things I make- salads, vegetable side dishes- obviously all on that favorite foods list. It is best made by crushing peanuts (roasted,skinless,unsalted) in a chopper or a coffee grinder.

The raita goes rather well with pulavs and puris, IMO. This the one thing of which the girls invariably ask for a second helping.

Here’s how I make it.

Peanuts Raita

(enough for 4 people)

Peanuts koot – 6 tbsp(or more, if you like)

Yoghurt – 400 gms

Salt – to taste

Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder – to taste

Cumin powder – 1 to 1 and1/2 tsp

(you could use any other chilli powder; I use this one because none of us like “hot” spicy flavors)

Chopped Green Coriander – 1 tbsp

Smooth the yoghurt in a bowl, with a spoon or a fork, after adding the spices and the coriander. Add the peanuts, and mix everything again. Chill for an hour, if you like, before serving.

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