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Cool Summer Raitha (coolest yoghurt for bristling summer) (SALAD)

March 31, 2014
onion-tomato-cucumber raitha

ONION-TOMATO-CUCUMBER RAITHA (SALTED) (SALAD)

 

Raitha’ is a key accompaniment (salad) to every hot Indian curry dish like subzi  – and be it with rotis/chappathis/parathas or biryani or pulao or sambhar rice or whatever.  It is a must because it balances the chili-ginger-garlic-black pepper-garam masala and other spices’ effect, without which we will all be running around with burned stomachs!

No Indian main course menu is complete without ‘dahi’ or thick unsalted yoghurt or ‘curd’ as we refer to usually, therefore.  In south India, this dahi is taken with rice.  No south Indian meal is squared off without the ubiquitous ‘dahi bhat’ (curd rice) including wedding feasts that is served at last – like signing off, with acchar (salted mango or lemon pickle).  The purpose is to help digestion.  Because Indian food essentially is a very rich fare laden with rarest of rare spices and exotic vegetables and nuts.   So it becomes imperative to close ‘your account’ with the beneficial bacteria in yoghurt/curd naturally.

Lassi’ sweetened or salted is also a local favourite.  Served in tall glass and chilled, this is beaten yoghurt which might be topped up sometimes with flavours like lemon or mint  for instance.  Mango lassi is the most favoured summer lassi in my city and in India generally.  Ofcourse, the mango season in summer makes it easy (will post recipe later:  but in short, mango lassi is beaten sweet yoghurt with fresh mango pieces – served as a chilled smoothie).  Nothing can be more refreshing than a glass of sweet lassi – so stay away with ‘chemical’ and damaging ‘coke’ and ‘pepsi’ please!  Lassi is always my No.1 favourite summer treat along with fresh fruit juices (not store-bought).  Lassi can also double up as ‘dessert’ at our convenience.

Personally at home I try to make a mixed ‘raitha’ – which is salted, slightly beaten yoghurt with onion, tomato, carrots and cucumber regularly.

Here I am posting picture of the raitha i am making daily at home this summer:

 

 

 

Recipe:

 

Take a cup of unsalted curd/yoghurt.

Add salt and make it a smoothie with a flattened spoon.

Add grated onion, tomato, carrots and cucumber and even chopped coriander – all or some or any.  Mix well and serve chilled (as salad).

If I am in mood (!) i add ‘boondhi’ (salted) to it as well!  The thing is, it must remember to get it from mithai shop during grocery shopping!  ‘Boondhi raitha’  (leaving the ref to Google :-)) is also a dear dish for all of us!

In the north, people do season raitha with amchur or garam masala powder but we don’t down south.  I prefer raitha always in its plainest, simplest form and would not want it to taste like one more curry 🙂

However in south, in my memory I have seen my aunt add coconut milk to raitha always and stir up.  Not sure if this is followed these days.  In order to prolong shelf-life of raitha, I don’t do it always but do occasionally.  Moreover we south Indians want to add up coconut in anything and everything on some pretext or other.

So there you have yummy raitha – the perfect accompaniment/salad in summer with any hot and fiery Indian curry dish!  Serve chilled. I would say it will also go down well  with baked breads – flour or whole wheat or brown.  Instead of mayonnaise, i would suggest the healthy raitha for a change.

* I am leaving out buttermilk (salted) (labaan in arabic) which is cheap and best in Indian cities and villages and that which is lighter than the thick Lassi.  Will add an entry on a later date.

 

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