Cooling, creamy, minty cucumber raita is the quintessential accompaniment to Indian curries, kebabs, biryani and virtually any spicy dish. I love setting out a big bowl of cucumber raita on the table when I serve Indian food. It's very easy to throw together and whether you spoon it over your spicy curry or dip your naan into it, it makes the meal extra special.
This cucumber raita recipe has been here on this blog for a long time, but it was hidden in my Lamb Biryani post. When I made lamb biryani the other day, I realized cucumber raita needs it's own exclusive place on Panning The Globe. Raita is such a wonderful thing, so delicious, easy to whip up and an absolute 'must' when serving spicy Indian food.
Cucumber Raita is a yogurt based condiment and a popular staple on the Indian table along with chutneys and pickles. But unlike chutneys which are meant to add flavor and kick to a dish, raita has subtle flavors and is designed to cool a dish down.
COOLING CUCUMBER RAITA
Dairy has magical properties that counteract fiery spices. Yogurt and other milk products contain a protein called casein, which can literally break down capsaicin - the stuff in chili peppers that makes your mouth burn. I remember the occasions when my kids overdid the hot sauce and there would be gasps and cries for "get me a glass of milk!" It really works.
When spicy food is paired with cool and creamy cucumber raita, it takes the edge of the heat so you can better taste the flavors in the dish. Plus the bright fresh flavors of cucumber and mint are a lovely complement to a rich spicy curry, stew or kebab.
Another healthy benefit of eating raita is that it's made from yogurt which is rich in probiotics. Probiotics aid in digestion and can be especially soothing when you consume certain rich or excessively spicy foods.
HOW TO MAKE CUCUMBER RAITA
The basic raita recipe has just 5 ingredients: yogurt, cucumber, garlic, mint and cumin.
- Start with a firm english hothouse cucumber. Peel it, cut it in half lengthwise, and use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds that run down the center. Then either chop it finely or grate it.
- Next, chop the fresh mint leaves.
- Then toast a tablespoon of cumin seeds for a few seconds in a dry skillet. Toasting brings out their best flavor.
- The garlic can either be finely minced or squeezed though a garlic press.
- Scoop 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients: grated cucumber, chopped mint, cumin, garlic and salt, to taste.
- Stir gently to combine all the ingredients and chill the raita in thew fridge, covered, until you're ready to eat.
- Scoop raita into a serving bowl and garnish with a sprig of mint, if you like. Enjoy!
If you're looking for a delicious dish that goes with cucumber raita try this Indian Lamb Biryani recipe. It's consistently one of the most popular recipes on this site and in my house.
Here's the cucumber raita recipe. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 ½ cups 1x
Cucumber Raita is a delicious creamy, cooling condiment that's the perfect accompaniment for Indian curries, stews, kebabs or any spicy dish.
- 2 cups plain whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 hothouse cucumber (Also called English cucumber)
- ½ cup finely chopped mint leaves (set aside a sprig for garnishing)
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted (see notes)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise, use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds, and grate it or finely chop it.
- Spoon the yogurt into a large mixing bowl and add the cucumbers, garlic, cumin and salt. Stir, taste, and season with more salt, if needed. Chill, covered, until ready to eat.
- to serve, spoon raita into a small bowl and top with a sprig of fresh mint
To Toast cumin seeds - Put them in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until fragrant and slightly darker in color, about 2 minutes.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Dip
- Method: no cook
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: Yogurt dip with cucumber, garlic and mint, yogurt herb dip, Indian yogurt condiment
This post was originally published on April 7, 2018. It has been refreshed and republished on November 29, 2022 with added nutritional information, some helpful links, and clarifying details in the written post and the recipe.
This Raita is perfect with just about anything!!!