Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Raita – A Yogurt Sauce Made Bengali Style

Raita is a thin yogurt sauce that goes really well with kababs. The marriage between raita and kabab is what makes a beautiful kabab dish glorious. It is similar to the Greek tzatziki sauce… but without the garlic or the olive oil and tastes absolutely divine. 

The recipe is also very flexible as you can add as much or as little onion and cucumber to the sauce if you so desire. The only step special step requires the preparation of a coarse powder made from dry roasted cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Other than that,  you just dump everything together, give it a quick whiz in the blender and voila, you have raita.

So the next time you are having kabab or tandoori chicken make sure you mix up a batch of raita. I promise you won’t regret. :)

1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
quarter of a small green chili
1/2 teaspoon green chili paste (availablt at Indian grocery stores)
1/2 teaspoon dry roasted cumin and black mustard seeds 

Take 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds and 1/2 tablespoon of mustard seed and dry roast it. Remember to continuously stir it as you don't want the spices to burn. If it does, cut your losses and start from the beginning. This is only take 3-4 minutes. The minute the seeds release a strong aroma take your pan off the heat.

Cool the seeds for a few minutes and place in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder or anything else you want to use to crush them.

Grind to a coarse powder.

In an airtight container this powder stays good for a few months.

Mix all the other ingredients in a blender making sure not to use more than 1/4 of a green chili as this will be plenty hot. If you use more the raita loses its traditional taste and tastes a bit bitter.

Now pour into a bowl and stir in cumin-mustard dry roasted powder and raita is done.

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