This easy Indian raita recipe makes a deliciously refreshing yogurt based side or salad of diced cucumber, tomato and red onion with fresh fragrant mint and coriander. It’s the perfect cooling accompaniment to any spiced dish, from curries to biryanis, but can be eaten with pickles, relishes, flat breads or papadams. Super easy to make, it’s also very versatile.
We made this wonderfully easy Indian raita recipe on the weekend to enjoy with this Indian-style Burmese curry we make regularly, along with papadams, chilli and lime pickles and a spicy mango chutney. It’s also a perfect side to this Punjabi chole or chickpea curry and tamarind eggplant.
Raita is the deliciously cooling dip, salad or side, depending on what you eat it with, as it’s incredibly versatile. You could use it as a dip for papadams or flatbreads, serve it as a refreshing accompaniment to anything from grilled kebabs to spicy curries and savoury biryanis, and even use it as a spread.
You probably already know and love raita if you’re a lover of Indian cuisine – and I should say Indian cuisines, because Indian food, like Chinese food, Italian food and Thai food, to name a few, is a regional cuisine, with ‘Indian cuisine’ being an umbrella for a number of regional cuisines.
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Easy Indian Raita Recipe for a Cooling Accompaniment to Any Spicy Dishes
This easy Indian raita recipe is one of my favourites. We’ve been making variations of it, most often in its simplest form, just with yoghurt and fresh mint, for as long as we’ve been cooking Indian food, which is several decades.
Although I make this raita recipe not only when we cook Indian food but when we make Indian-influenced Burmese dishes, such as the Indian-style Burmese curry I linked to above.
I adore all those cooling fermented milk-based dips, sides, salads, spreads, and soups around the world that are made with yogurt, sour cream or kefir, fresh herbs such as mint, coriander or dill, and typically cucumber, although other vegetables are used.
The Nordic countries all have fresh dill-flavoured fermented milk dips and sauce. In Iceland, there’s skyronnes made with skyr, a traditional Icelandic yogurt; in Finland, tillikastike is prepared with kermaviili, a Finnish curd cream, and the Swedes have dillsås, a dill sauce made with gräddfil or sour cream.
In nearby Russia, there’s okroshka, a kefir-based soup not too far removed from raita, and in the Caucasus, it’s called ovdukh. In Poland, it’s mizeria, which is very similar to tarator from the Balkans and talattouri in Cyprus, which is pretty much the same as Greek tzatziki, made with yogurt, dill and cucumber.
In Turkey it cacik in Turkish, which is pronounced as jajeek, which is the name of the same dish in Iraq. In neighbouring Iran, there’s ash-e doogh, which has a greater variety of herbs, along with raisins, black pepper, and sometimes nuts.
But back to this easy Indian raita recipe, for which I have just a few quick tips.
Tips to Making this Easy Indian Raita Recipe
I only have a few quick tips to making this easy Indian raita recipe as it’s a cinch to make, but let’s start at the beginning with the base, yogurt, which in India is called curd.
Make sure you use an all-natural whole milk yoghurt. I like a creamy Greek-style yogurt although I know in India raita is often thinner and Indian cooks will often thin out the curd with a little milk.
While ground cumin and chilli powder are probably easy to find, chaat masala may be trickier to source. If you don’t have a supermarket with a well-stocked Indian food section, as we’re lucky to have, you’ll find chaat masala online.
Use fresh crunchy cucumbers – if the skin is bitter, peel it; if there are too many seeds in the centre, discard them – and sweet ripe red tomatoes. Whether you remove the tomato seeds or not is entirely up to you. I like them, but many don’t.
Indian raita recipes call for white, brown or red onions. I use red onions or the easier to find purple shallots for colour as much as flavour.
Our Indian raita recipe calls for fresh mint and dill, but I’ve also spotted dried herbs in some recipes. Fresh is best but use what you can source.
Easy Indian Raita Recipe
- 200 g plain yogurt
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp chaat masala
- ¼ tsp chilli powder
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 100 g cucumber peeled and diced
- 50 g red tomato ripe, finely diced
- 50 g red onion or purple shallots finely diced
- 2 tbsp mint leaves fresh, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves fresh, roughly chopped
- fresh mint leaves
- In a mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the yogurt and ground spices so that the spices don’t clump together.
- Add the diced cucumber, tomato and onion and chopped fresh herbs and combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning and spices to suit your palate.
- Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate to chill until you’re ready to eat then serve as a side to spiced Indian curries, rice, pickles, relishes, and flat breads or pappadums.
Please do let us know if you make this easy Indian raita recipe in the comments below as we love to hear how our recipes turned out for you.