Can’t take the heat? You need Raita at the table!
Raita is a yogurt-based condiment that usually accompanies a spicy Indian dish. The South Indian counterpart to raita is called pachadi (pronounced PUH-chu-dî). A typical South Indian meal will feature rice, Sambar, Rasam, steam-cooked and/or pan roasted vegetables, and raita.
This traditional menu involves the use of different spices such as red chili, fenugreek, cumin, coriander and lentils, incorporating sour, sweet, bitter, hot, and astringent flavors. Raita adds a touch of sweetness, and helps to soothe our palate and balance the spicyness. It basically utilizes the power of yogurt with raw veggies or fresh fruit. My mom would make different kinds of raita — cucumber, tomato, coconut and okra, to name a few. I grew up with raita on the table every day, and there was no limit to what veggies or fruits my mom would put in it. Be creative!
Today’s menu: Pomegranate Raita! Nothing like a sweet kick to partner with your spices.
- Yogurt - ½ cup
- Pomegranate - ¼ cup heaped
- Oil -¼ tsp
- Mustard Seeds - ½ tsp
- Red Chili - 1 pepper (need more heat? reach for 2)
- Salt - to taste
- Cilantro chopped - 1 tablespoon
- Water - as needed
- Beat yogurt in a bowl until smooth.
- Yogurt should be slightly thinner for raita. Depending on the consistency of your yogurt, add water as needed (for instance, I used 2% Fat Greek Yogurt and added about 3 tablespoons of water).
- Add salt and adjust the amount according to taste.
- Add pomegranate seeds to the yogurt and mix.
- Heat oil in a small frypan. Once oil is hot, add the red chili and mustard seeds. Since the seeds will start splattering, immediately cover the pan with a lid. Turn the stove off.
- Once the seeds stop splattering, open the lid, and pour it over the yogurt-pomegranate mixture.
- Garnish with cilantro.
Looking for a great dip for breads, raw veggies and (healthy) chips? Pomegranate Raita is your friend. Just skip adding water in Step 2 so the consistency is a bit thicker.