It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe; the last one was back in late October and coincidentally had the same featured ingredient as this one: radish, or to be more specific, watermelon radish. But whereas that October recipe was essentially for thinly sliced and dressed watermelon radish, in this one the watermelon radish does not form the base of the dish; that role is played by yogurt. No one needs me to explain what raita is. I can tell you, however, one thing it isn’t, and that is a dish made with any sort of fixed recipe. The necessary ingredient is yogurt and it needs to be beaten; beyond that it’s a free world. From texture to flavourings, you can do pretty much whatever you want (though it should stay vegetarian and you should remember that the primary function of raita is to act as a supporting, cooling agent during a meal).
This particular version features nothing but watermelon radish as the non-dairy component. We got a lot of watermelon radish with the last of our CSA share and I’m still working through it all. As it’s milder and sweeter than both red and daikon radish it works particularly well on its own in raita, and it adds dramatic colour interest as well. If you don’t have watermelon radish on hand, by all means use another type.
- Full fat, plain yogurt (let’s say 2 cups)
- Milk, enough to get to desired texture (say 1/2-1 cup)
- Grated watermelon radish (let’s say 1/2-3/4 cup)
- Salt to taste
- A pinch of sugar
- Beat the yogurt in the bowl in which you’re going to serve the raita.
- Add the milk and beat till fully incorporated.
- Add the salt and sugar (if using) and beat again to combine.
- Grate half the radish into the raita and mix it in. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes to infuse.
- Right before serving grate the rest of the radish over the top; mix it all in again after everyone has either admired or ignored your presentation.
- I’ve been intentionally vague on the proportions. Some people like their raita thick, some like it thin. I prefer it at a texture where it drips easily off a spoon but is not runny. Do as you like.
- Likewise, some people like their raita completely saturated with whatever veg they’re putting into it, some like it thinner in every way. Do as you like.
- You could also add some finely chopped onion and a pinch of chilli powder if you like, but I like my radish raita to get its bite entirely from the radish.
- I suppose you could use low fat or non-fat yogurt, but you might consider living on the edge a little.
- Serve with any spicy curry and especially with biryani or pulao.