Raita, the unique ways in which yogurt is used in India. Most often than not, fresh raw vegetables such as tomato, onion, cucumber, cilantro are chopped and added to whisked yogurt, which is then gently spiced up with salt , pepper etc. Raitas are served as an accompaniment with main meals to cool and refresh the palatte. The varieties of Raitas in Indian cuisine are endless, some like it sweet with fruits like pineapples added to yougurt , or some like it with Boondi( fried gramflour droplets ) in it.
Todays recipe THE KUMAONI RAITA comes from the hilly region of north India, UTTARKHAND. And uses cucumber and mustard seeds as the main ingredient.
When you talk about Uttarkhand, immediately you think of beautiful scenic mountains , high up in the clouds, where the ice caped mountain kiss the fluffy clouds which seem like Gossamer., and beautiful valleys and Rivers.
Also Known for the famous pilgramage places such as Rishikesh, Mukteshwar, Haridwar and pretty hill stations like Nainital and Mussorie.
Uttarkhand has an awesome variety of food, which is simple and easy to put together.
One day I would love to visit this beautiful province, whose panaromic views have attracted me so much. Sigh!
Growing up in Pune, Yogurt in our home was served plain ,or sometimes it was made into a potato or Boondi raita with a tadka of Rai and jeera,or if mummy was in a good mood,soft sweet dahiwaras were made , mostly on leisurely sunday afternoons . Those were the days when sunday was an important part of the week . That day was a movie date day for mummy and daddy, after which they took us to the local parks in Pune. Either Sambhaji park, or Peshwa park and sometimes to Bund garden . Childhood pleasures were simple but the memories left behind were priceless.
Koi lauta de mere beete hue din..nostalgia.
On to the recipe, try to use cucumbers with less seeds.. My suggestion is to make the Raita in the night, to let the awesome flavours of fresh mustard seeds merge into the yogurt. Or at least make it 6 hours before serving. This is a very simple no fuss recipe which comes together in no time. The tartness of mustard seeds, reminds one of wasabi flavours. Do try it.
300 gms fresh yogurt
300 gms cucumbers/ kheera
1.5 tsps mustard seeds
2 tsps cumin seeds
1 green chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp asofoedita /hing
1 tbsp mustard oil
2 dry red chillies..broken into smaller pieces
Red chillie powder and chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Whisk the yogurt in a bowl
2. Grate the cucumbers,DO NOT squeeze the water from cucumbers.
3. Grind together green chillies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds , turmeric powder.( I have used the mortar and pestle, to grind manually) you could use a mixer grinder.
4. Add the mustard paste to the whisked yogurt and mix well. Season with salt.
5. Add grated cucumbers. Mix well, cover bowl and refrigerate for minimum 6 hours.
6. Heat mustard oil in a small pan and add hing , dry red chillies.
7. Pour this tadka over the yogurt, garnish with red chillie powder and chopped corriander. Serve chilled.
Kheere ka raita is ready to be served.