Goes With Everything
Raita is a workhorse of a condiment. Vegetarian and gluten-free, it is a perfect cooling foil for spicy Indian dishes and goes with almost everything. Its formula varies from region to region, season to season, and can be simple like this easy cooling raita. Or, it can be made with added raw or cooked fruits and vegetables. Flavor it with spices and fresh herbs, depending on your mood and what else you are serving.
Quick and Easy
I am offering 4-ingredient raita that can be whipped up at a moment’s notice, but I have also outlined lots of ideas for optional garnishes and flavorings. If you are looking for a bit more complexity, take a look at my South Indian cucumber raita (pachadi), or spiced-up tomato raita with curry leaves and mustard seeds.
Healthy, Cooling Raita
Not just for Indian food, raita is a healthy sauce for meats, fish, and vegetables. I also like to use it instead of mayonnaise in a sandwich, and as a binder in a tuna or chicken salad. Sauce tacos, marinate chicken, or add some excitement to plain rice. You can dress up burgers, use it as a dip, or even eat it on its own as a snack. Play around and find your favorite spot with some of the ideas below.
Happy playing in the kitchen!
See the Notes below before you cook.
Cooling Raita in 5 Minutes!
The 4-Ingredient Basic Raita
- 1 cup plain yogurt ~ Full fat is best, but use what you like.
- 2 tablespoons onion, shallot, scallion ~ Grated or finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice ~ More to taste
- salt and pepper ~ To taste
- 1 tablepoon fresh herbs ~ Cilantro, mint, parsley, or chives coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chive blossoms ~ Torn
- sprinkling chili flakes
- For vegan raita, use coconut yogurt.
- If the raita is too tangy or spicy for you, just add some more yogurt.
- Elevate the flavors of your raita if using cumin or coriander seeds: toast them and then coarsely crush with a mortar and pestle, or a heavy pan.
- If you use thick Greek-style yogurt you may want to add a bit of water to thin your final dish.
- Usually, raita is lightly salted, but salt to your taste.
- Add the fresh herbs, if using, just before serving.
- pinch of hing (asafetida)
- pinch of ground red chili of your choice: Kashmiri, gochugaru, Aleppo, cayenne, etc.
- 1 to 2 tsp finely chopped green chili, Serrano, bell pepper, or Indian chilis
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated garlic
- 1/2 tsp crushed or ground cumin seeds ~ See note above
- 1/2 tsp crushed or ground coriander seeds ~ See note above
- 1 tablespoon of oil for added richness and flavor: olive oil, mustard oil, avocado, etc.
- spice blends ~ a pinch to taste: garam masala, Kerala garam masala, chaat masala, etc.
- chopped tomato
- chopped cucumber, seeds removed
- cooked or raw grated carrot
- roasted eggplant
- cooked potatoes
- cooked spinach
- chopped mango
- chopped papaya
- chopped kiwi
- chopped pomegranate