Raitas and pachchadis based on yogurt to act as coolers in contrast to the hot and spicy chutneys that dot the Indian meal. All the recipes below serve 4 to 6 .
Yogurt with Cucumbers (Punjab – North India)
Ingredients: 2 green cucumbers Salt and black pepper to taste 2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onion 2 cups yogurt 1’/2 teaspoons roasted cumin seeds (optional) Garnish: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander or mint
Peel the cucumbers, halve them lengthways and remove the seeds. Cut the cucumbers into small dice, sprinkle with salt and leave for 15 minutes, then drain away liquid and rinse the cucumbers quickly in cold water. Drain well. Combine with onion, yogurt, lemon juice and taste to see if more salt is required. Roast the cumin seeds in a dry pan, shaking pan or stirring constantly, until brown. Bruise or crush seeds and sprinkle over yogurt. Serve chilled, garnished with mint or coriander.
Ingredients: 1 large bunch spinach 2 teaspoons ghee or oil 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds l teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds 1/8 teaspoon chilli powder (optional) Salt and black pepper to taste 2 cups yogurt
Method: 1. Wash spinach thoroughly in several changes of water. Remove any tough stems and put the leaves into a saucepan with very little water. Cover and steam over low heat until spinach is tender. Drain and chop finely. 2. In a small pan heat ghee or oil and fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop. Add cumin seeds, ground cumin and fenugreek seeds and continue to fry, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the fenugreek seeds are golden brown, but do not allow to burn. Remove from heat, stir in chilli powder, if used, and salt and allow to cool. Mix in the yogurt, then stir this mixture into the spinach. Serve cold or at room temperature as a side dish with rice and curry, or with one of the Indian breads.
Yogurt and Onion Salad – Dahi Kachumbar (Maharashtra)
Ingredients: 3 medium onions Salt and black pepper to taste 1 cup yogurt 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped 3 fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or coriander Method: Cut the onions into thin slices, sprinkle with the salt and set aside for 20 minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Mix together the yogurt and ginger, then fold in the onions and the rest of the ingredients. Cover and chill thoroughly before serving.
Yogurt with Bananas – Kela Raita
Ingredients: 4 large ripe bananas lemon juice 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 cup yogurt 3 tablespoons freshly grated or desiccated coconut 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons sugar
Slice the bananas and sprinkle with lemon juice. Roast cumin seeds in a dry pan, shaking or stirring constantly until brown. Crush or grind. Combine the yogurt with all the ingredients except the banana. If desiccated coconut is used, moisten it first by sprinkling with about 2 tablespoons water and tossing it with the fingers until it is no longer dry. Fold banana into yogurt mixture. Chill and serve.
Onion, Tomato & Cucumber Raita
2 cups yogurt/curds Cilantro/coriander leaves 1 small onion, chopped fine 1 small cucumber, grated 1 small tomato, chopped fine 1 tsp. oil 1 tsp. mustard seeds Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the yogurt/curds, onions and tomatoes, cilantro/ coriander leaves, cucumber, salt and pepper. Fry the mustard seeds in oil and add to the mixture. Serve.