Fusion Raita (Indian Yogurt Sauce)
Raita (click on the link for the traditional version) is an Indian condiment made with yogurt. It is paired with a lot of spicy dishes like biryani, tandoori chicken or vegetarian cutlets because dairy products have a cooling effect when food is extremely spicy. If you follow Ted Allen's show, Food Detectives, you've probably seen the premier episode which asks "What is the best way to cool your mouth after eating spicy food?" After some experimentation it was clear that dairy was the most effective.
This particular recipe is my take on traditional raita. Similar to the Greek sauce called tzatziki, I add dill, lemon, and olive oil. Being French, I also add some Dijon mustard to add some more complexity to the flavor.
I know, some people are going to balk at my additions, but I think that sauces are the highlight of a meal, so why not enhance them with a lot of flavor? Sometimes I also add cilantro or dill, depending on what's available in my garden. I'll try to post the traditional recipe soon so that you can make your own variations to your taste.
Yields: 6 servings2 baby Persian cucumbers, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 small red onion, chopped, (+ extra for garnish)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 pinch cumin seeds, dry roasted
2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped, (+ extra for garnish)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pickled garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lime juice, or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 whole Thai bird green chile
2 teaspoon olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until the texture is smooth and creamy.
Garnish with onion and mint.
I served kitcheri with raita. It was a nice complement to the rice dish.
I use Fage brand yogurt. I find the flavor to be richer and the consistency to be denser than the regular one. If the raita is too thick though, you can add up to 2 other tablespoons of whole milk.
The whole Thai bird chile is in the raita just for garnish and brings absolutely no spiciness to the sauce as it is not chopped.
I used pickled garlic for a milder flavor. You can find it any Asian market.
Check out my cutlet recipe (click on the photo for the recipe). They are similar to potato latkes and go very well with raita.July 19, 2009.