Cucumber Raita
Excerpted from Picnic, by DeeDee Stovel.
This cool Indian yogurt salad is the perfect foil for hot spicy dishes. It is delicious with rice salad.

Consumer Guide Summary:
While cucumbers are commonly found in raita, other vegetables or fruits can be used. Try grated eggplant, potato, or chopped spinach. How about a banana or mango raita? Increase the spicy flavor by adding garam masala, a spicy, aromatic Indian blend of peppercorns, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, turneric, and fennel seeds available in gourmet or natural food stores.

Cucumber Raita
2 slicing cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and grated or chopped
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon choipped fresh mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Press the cucumbers through a strainer to remove some of the water.

2. Combine with other ingredients and take to a picnic in a small covered dish.

Cucumber Raita
Seasoned Salad of Yogurt And Cucumber
Roast in a dry skillet, stirring constantly, until lightly browned (about 2-3 minutes):

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
Grind seeds in a blender or mortar and pestle.
Combine the ground seeds in a bowl with:
1 cup yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled and shredded
1/2 medium tomato, chopped small (opt.)
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped
1 Tablespoon onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon sour cream (opt.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pinches hot red pepper powder
1-2 Tablespoons water, enough to make a creamy consistency

Serve in individual small bowls or cups.

Scallion and Cucumber Raita

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2-3 tbsp skim milk or sub
1 cup diced cucumber
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup roasted and crushed cumin seeds
pinch chili powder
freshly ground black pepper

Beat yogurt and milk lightly together in a bowl until smooth. Add cukes,
scallions, sugar, and half the cumin seeds, mixing well. Sprinkle chili powder
over surface of the raita, then draw an inner circle in the same way with
black pepper and sprinkle remaining cumin seeds in center. Be creative...
kwlacto lacto

Cucumber Raita
(makes 2 cups, 480 ml)

1 cup (228 g) nonfat plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and minced
2 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (16 g) loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin seed

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Tofu Cucumber Raita Neutral
A raita is a yogurt based salad which is used as a cooling accompaniment to the spicy dishes it's served with. It's served in bowls on the table and can be spooned over almost any dish, eaten alone or scooped up with bread or crackers.

I've substituted nondairy yogurt or soft tofu for the yogurt and while it does make it a slightly different dish, I think it works well. If however, you don't like this raita next time make it with dairy based yogurt and use it with a Neutral or Protein dish.

Slice both ends off 1 large cucumber before peeling. It's important to slice the ends off before grating to prevent the cucumber from tasting bitter. If the cucumber has been waxed then peel the skin off before seeding and coarsely grating. Stir 2 cups nondairy yogurt or tofu. Combine with 2-3 tablespoons onions, finely chopped.


1/4 teaspoon ground cumin for 1 minute in a small pan. Remove from heat and stir in a little of the tofu mixture. Stir into the remaining tofu mixture. Stir in
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
salt to taste
chopped cilantro, to taste
Serve chilled or at room temperature

Eggplant Raita Neutral
I couldn't resist giving you this eggplant raita recipe. You don't need to serve two raitas for an authentic or satisfying Indian meal, but if you're already a fan of Indian food you might consider a cucumber raita standard fare, so I wanted to give you something unexpected to add to your meal.

Prick the eggplant in several places and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven about 1 hour until it is soft and collapsed. Cool until you can handle it, then split it open and scoop out the pulp. Drain off any liquid and coarsely chop the pulp.

1 large eggplant
Saute the onion in small amount of oil until they are translucent, about 5-10 minutes.

1/3 cup onion, chopped
Add and stir over low heat for 2 minutes:

1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon each cumin and coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Add and stir until soft, then remove from heat

1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
Stir in eggplant pulp and

1 teaspoon salt
2 cups nondairy yogurt or tofu, mashed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve chilled or room temperature.