Friday, September 2, 2011

Cucumber and Carrot Raita (Yogurt Salad)

Indian and Sri Lankan meals are often very spicy and full of bold flavors. Sometimes it's nice to have a dish that is cooling and soothing to the palate.  A raita (yogurt salad) goes perfectly with a curry meal, a rice pilaf or briyani.  There are so many versions and combinations of raitas.  This raita is very simply with cucumber,  carrots and a thick Greek style yogurt as the main ingredients.  Although this raita is considered a side dish, it shined all on it's own and did not get lost in the menu.

 Raita Ingredients:
1 English Cucumber grated (see note)
1-2 carrots grated
1/2 medium onion grated
2 serrano chili seeded and diced finely
2 cups of Greek Yogurt (see note)
juice from half a lemon
pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Notes:  Cucumbers can be very watery.  I let the cucumbers drain in a fine meshed colander with some salt to try to let as much liquid drain out before adding the cucumber into the salad.

If you want a thicker riata, you can also use a thick Greek style yogurt.   If you cannot find Greek style yogurt you can drain three cups of yogurt in a fine mesh colander with a paper towel (or coffee filter) and allow the whey to separate from the curd for several hours in the fridge.  The thick curd is what you want for your salad. Make sure you have another bowl below the colander to catch all the whey.

Directions:  Simply mix all the above ingredients together and allow the raita to chill for 30 minutes or longer to allow the flavors to develop.

Serves 6-8 people as part of a meal.  Enjoy.

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