I made alu parathas for lunch today and obviously had to make a bowl of raita to go with it. Raita is not a recipe but a canvas. You take yogurt and beat it, add whatever you want to flavour it, mix it all in and you’re done. You can make salty raitas, sweet raitas, salty-sweet raitas. You can make raitas that incorporate cooked ingredients and you can make raitas that are entirely raw. The only thing I haven’t come across is non-veg raitas but I would not be at all surprised to discover they exist. As always, my knowledge of Indian food extends to only a small sliver of it. Anyway, as variegated as raitas can be, my own preference—usually—is for simple raitas with a few chopped veg (I’ve previously posted my recipe for raita made with grated watermelon radish). I like my raita to emphasize the yogurt and not be crunchy with too much veg and toppings. In fact, I sometimes think that in the era of Instagram a lot of people overload their raitas because otherwise it doesn’t make for a very interesting photograph. It’s a simple dish; in my opinion, best when simply made and is a perfect summer side to all kinds of dishes.
Here’s a rough recipe for the one I threw together today in just a few minutes.
- 1 cup full-fat yogurt
- Enough milk to thin it out enough to be just pourable
- 2 tblspns minced red onion
- 2 tblspns grated radish
- 2 tblspns grated cucumber
- 1 minced Thai chilli
- 1 big pinch chaat masala
- Salt to taste
- Beat the yogurt in a bowl first by itself and then with the milk.
- Add all the other ingredients and stir.
- Set aside for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse the yogurt.