Savory Dip & Condiment
Raita is a type of dip or condiment that is kind of, sort of, somewhat like Tzatziki. Well, not really!!
While both have a base of thick, strained plain Greek yogurt, they differ in their origins and flavor profiles. Tzatziki is from Greece while Raita hails from India and both have many regional variations.
Another significant difference is in the seasonings — Tzatziki usually has crisp cucumbers, dill, garlic, mint or parsley and a heavy tangy dose of lemon juice. In contrast, the main herb in Raita is cilantro and it always incorporates a spicy element such as cumin, or cayenne pepper or both. Raita is also often chunkier in texture with chopped tomatoes and onions in addition to cucumber.
I grew up eating raita with naan-wiches, smeared on roasted or grilled vegetables, as a cooling condiment with any spicy foods or as a dip for fresh, crisp veggies. Some essential tips for a flavorful, traditional raita include toasting your spices (in this case cumin seeds) before grinding to really bring out the essential oils and aromas. Also, season your raita well – a good dose of salt brings out the flavors and a generous hand with the spices will give it nice intense flavor.
So BE BRAVE and try this condiment as a juicy, chunky dip, serve with a grilled meat, or spread on a pita sandwich.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus a sprinkle for garnish)
1/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small tomato, deseeded and diced
½ cucumber, deseeded, peeled and diced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Deseed and dice the tomato and the cucumber. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until aromatic and slightly browned. Remove, and use a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds into a powder.
Put the yogurt in a bowl and beat with a fork until smooth and creamy. Add salt, cayenne pepper, the cumin powder, cilantro, chopped tomato and cucumber and mix well. Garnish with a pinch of ground cumin, cayenne and cilantro.
Serve with any grilled meats, as a dip or as a condiment for Indian food.
Total Time: 10 minutes
Categories: Appetizers, Snacks & Sides, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Raita, Tzatziki, Indian Yogurt Sauce, Condiment, Veggie Dip, Vegetable Dip, Cumin, Sandwich Spread, Naan, Greek Yogurt